Six ‘Woes’ have been announced against the wicked. And, that is the wicked of Judah. These are woes against the people who have proclaimed themselves to be the ‘People of God’.
The fifth and the sixth we will look at together in this commentary of woes. There has been one ‘woe’ already announced against them for their seeking after ‘Wine and strong drink’ (v. 11), that was the second one. These latter two seem to be dealing with men of influence; men who make judgments. These are people in the courts or some position of authority. The fifth one basically deals with “Pride” which leads to a fall. Whether it is the common man or woman, or a person of influence makes no difference when it comes to ‘Pride’; God hates it.
There is an arrogance which Isaiah is speaking to. Boasting of their drinking, as though it is some heroic thing. It seems to be that way in American society these days. There is an arrogance toward alcoholic drink. If you do not imbibe in the poison you cannot be up with things. It is as though a man is no man unless he downs a beer, or maybe a case or two a week, and maybe in some instances a case per day. I hope that would be rare, but fear that it is not.
“Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” Isaiah 5:21-23 (KJV)
“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!” Isaiah 5:21-23 (ESV).
Pride will not only be the fall of individuals who exalt themselves against the will and Word of God, but it will also be the fall of any nation who allows it to continue unabated. It is pride and arrogance which causes men and women to exalt their own opinions over that of God. It is also pride and arrogance which will allow men to accept bribes in order to give the one with the money power over those who have none.
These arrogant fools were taking material gain, and depriving the innocent of their right to justice. Do you ever wonder, “Are these things done in the great nation of the United States of America?” You and I both know that it is. The liquor industry pays big dollars in taxes into our government. They also have a lot of political power with the men and women of Congress, the Senate, and all the national powers. May God forgive our wickedness. There is more bribery than that though, where individual judges, and other rulers have taken and are taking bribes so the wealthy can have their way.
May God forgive a nation that gives more rights to those who have and acquit the guilty because of wealth, but condemn the innocent who have no wealth.
There is a much better and a clear way, and that is with a sober mind and heart for God. Leadership by liquor is devastation, and quickly brings homes, communities, and countries to the gutter. The better way is the filling of the Spirit of God, and is accessible through faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on His name, believing, and you will be saved; then walk in His Spirit.
Earlier I wrote “…when it comes to ‘Pride’; God hates it”. I know that because He says He does. In Proverbs 6:16-19 there are seven things listed which God hates, and it seems that these seven things are a small example of all the things that God hates. The very first on the list is, “A proud look”. A proud look is basically being full of one’s self, needing no one (especially God), or nothing else. Pride will be our own undoing, unless we fall on our knees in full surrender to the God who made all things. Jesus Christ His Son is the only way to fully acknowledge Him.
-Tim A. Blankenship