DIG: Why would the entire nation go down to the grave? What role reversal do you see in the fate of the rich and that of the poor? Who’s who in this portrait of justice? How does the LORD prove His justice and righteousness?
REFLECT: Godly consequences, as a result of obedience, can result in blessings. But consequences as a result of sin can be devastating, as Judah would eventually find out. Sin always takes you further than you want to go and costs you more than you want to pay. Do you remember a time when sin took you further than you wanted to go? What were the consequences? How did you react to the LORD’s discipline?
There were four consequences of Judah’s lack of understanding (5:13). First, physical death would result. Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit. Into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their drunken brawlers and revelers (5:14). They will be sent to Sh'ol, the Hebrew word for the abode of the dead. Sh'ol was the shadowy place where all went after death: No one remembers you when you are dead. Who praises you from Sheol (Psalm 6:5). And Yeshua gave us an example in a parable about a rich man and Lazarus, where the angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side (Luke 16:19-31).
Secondly, the proud would be humiliated. The people will be brought low and the eyes of the arrogant humbled, regardless of their social status (5:15, also see 2:11-12 and 17). There is no distinction of rank and no place for splendor in Sh'ol (see Dq – Those Who See You Stare and Ponder Your Fate). Every attempt to gain an advantage of status or power in the underworld is useless, for everyone descends to the same level in the grave. The wealthy and the poor might be separated in this life (5:8-10), but not in the next. And because the rich gave themselves over to decadence rather than the understanding of the LORD, death would swallow the whole nation up together.
Thirdly, the land of Judah will be devastated. The land that was good for raising crops will only be good for grazing. The sheep will graze as in their own pasture. With the houses of the wealthy ruined (5:8-9), lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich (5:17). It was beyond ironic that the frantic energy spent adding house to house and field to field (5:8) would be replaced by the quiet grazing of the flocks. It is a spiritual principle of the universe. God’s peace will prevail, either by design or default.
Fourthly, this destruction of the nation would lead to a display of God’s justice and holiness. But the LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (CJB), will be exalted by His justice, and the holy God will show Himself by His righteousness (5:16). God proves His holiness and righteousness by judging sin. Ultimately, foreigners would occupy the Land. The nation, without realizing it, was in a death spiral. Their pride and their vices had blinded them to the truth of the Torah.
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017