From Woe to Wow
April 8, 2016 Year C
As God shares with Isaiah the conditions of the people of Israel, He begins by descending. God says “Woe” which is a word that describes a state of disappointment. God is disappointed with His people. Here are five ways in which I show God disappointment:
1. I waste God’s time on useless pursuits (Isaiah 5:11)
In this case, the people were spending all day from early in the morning until late in the evening being drunk. People make the pursuit of alcohol their destiny. It wastes not only God’s time but grey cells as well.
Isaiah 24:9, Isaiah 28:7, Isaiah 56:12
The Bible commands us to not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.
2. I celebrate time without recognizing God’s presence (Isaiah 5:12).
The Israelites were celebrating God’s feasts with music and alcohol, but they left God out of the equation. God had prescribed certain feasts in the fall and the spring. The primary feast – the Passover – commemorated God’s role in delivering the people out of Israel. This feast centered on God and His presence with His people. Here, God is disappointed that they spend so much time on their own celebrations that they don’t recognize God’s work in their lives.
3. I become imprisoned when I don’t seek God’s guidance (Isaiah 5:13)
They stirred about in independence and did not seek God’s instruction. Because they would not seek God’s word, and because they sought to ally themselves with someone without God’s guidance, the people become imprisoned.
The Bible is full of practical instruction about how to deal with life. The Bible can help you manage money, build better relationships, overcome stress, cope with life’s challenges, and receive eternal life. When I don’t look to God, my life can be a mess.
4. I ignore God’s warnings about spending eternity without Him (Isaiah 5:14)
Sheol is the place of the dead. God warns us that living life without God has eternal consequences. God is disappointed when I don’t seek Him for not just guidance and direction in this life, but community with Him in eternal life.
5. I humiliate myself before God’s magnificence (Isaiah 5:15)
This is the end of the path of woe. God’s disappointment ends when I refuse to seek Him. At this state, when I choose not to humble myself, God will make me humble.
(Isaiah 2:9, Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 2:17, Isaiah 10:33
All is not lost though. Grace is still available, even in my humiliation. The prodigal saw redemption in the midst of the pig slop. God is still in the business of lifting me up.
Even the steps down are long and hard, the steps up are quick and simple. God allows us to go down our own steps of God’s disappointment on our own. But when I am humble and I beg for God’s help, the way up is quick and simple.
God is just, holy, and righteous (Isaiah 5:16). He will bring us out of the woes of God’s disappointment to the wows of God’s desire for peace (Isaiah 5:17). Real peace in my life comes when I spend time in wonder of God and what He can do, not in selfish loathing of what I want to do. God is able to turn my woes into wows. He desires to be my one desire.
Prayer: God, even though I go through days of woe, I still wish for the days of wow. Please help lift me up out of my woeful situation so that I can be astounded by Your wonder.