The second “Woe” Isaiah mentions is toward those who live in a party mentality most of the time. They love their beer, wine, and hard liquor; and drugs of choice. They live for the time they can lose their mind or minds to feeling nothing. They want to lose control, and be out of control.
Even when these “Hearty Partiers” are sober they are living for the moment they can let it all go. Personally, I have never been able to understand why anyone wants to lose it all. All their money. All their purity. All their senses. All their ability to be in control of themselves – They have worked in factories, offices, different business forms, and under someone else’s control, yet they want to lose control through these drunken parties. No sense.
The New Living Translation (NLT) calls this word “Destruction”. In verse eleven of Isaiah 5 we are told, “Destruction is certain for you who get up early to begin long drinking bouts that last late into the night.” Just the mere act of getting drunk is going to lead to destruction; the destruction of your life and maybe someone else’s.
Many of the children of Judah in Isaiah’s day were living in a ‘party mode’. The land was wealthy. They were wealthy. They had it made. Nothing could happen to “God’s people”. After-all they had God’s assurance that He would never leave them or forsake them. “We have it made in the shade”, and “Who is this prophet anyway, that he should go around telling us what to do?” “We are God’s people. We are free to do as we please, as long as it does not violate our consciences.” So much for consciences.
These, had their music, and Isaiah calls it “Lovely music” (v. 12, NLT), “…But they do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the work of His hands” (NKJV). One thing is abundantly clear in this “Woe”, and that is; that it is calling for the destruction, through captivity of God’s people as a nation. They had forsaken God for their pleasures. DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND EVEN REMOTELY FAMILIAR?
We have professing Christian people being advocates for the drinking of alcoholic beverage. “Well! the Bible does not have any provisions forbidding it”, “There is nowhere that Scriptures say, ‘Thou shalt not drink beverage alcohol”. Just because it does not out and out forbid it is no reason to defend it. I could use that same argument for slavery, abortion, polygamy; there is nowhere the Bible that forbids those either. They are definitely forbidden by principle and the teachings written in Scriptures. One of those principles could be seen here in this text. If you are for godly things, and the things of God, then you will not drink, because you know that one can lead to more, which can lead to drunkenness.
Isaiah’s words are written for the future when he writes, “Therefore my people have gone into captivity…”. They will in one hundred plus years go into captivity by Babylon. They are presently in captivity to their pleasures and lusts, and Isaiah says, “Because they have no knowledge”. Hosea the prophet wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”, and previous to that he wrote, “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:6a, 1b NKJV). Why is it that Judah has no knowledge. They have so gotten into comfort, their pleasures, their wealth, their material possessions that God is only secondary. They will give God some notice if it fits into their schedule.
When you lose your knowledge of God; it is because you have gotten away from Him, forsaken Him, His Word, and prayer and worship of Him.
Hear what the prophet writes according to the NLT in verse 14, “The grave is licking its chops in anticipation of Jerusalem, this delicious morsel. Her great and lowly will be swallowed up, with all her drunken crowds. In that day the arrogant will be brought down to the dust; the proud will be humbled. But the LORD Almighty is exalted by His justice. The holiness of God is displayed by his righteousness. In those days flocks will feed among the ruins; lambs and kids will pasture there”
In the United States of America we have a major problem with people departing from God for their pleasures, and still keeping God in the equation. God tells us quite clearly that there is destruction, “Woe” in doing that. If you want to have a clean heart, clear mind, and be in control there is nothing like turning your whole life over to the LORD who died and rose again for you. His name is Jesus. This Jesus Christ is the one who will judge you in these matters.
“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.” Isaiah 5:11-17 (KJV)
-Tim A. Blankenship