Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Monday, December 9, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 7

This chapter has more to do with having faith that the Lord will complete His work and honor His promises than anything else. 

Make sure you read this chapter thoroughly before you start. Have your bible handy to refer back to. I will not be typing out too much of the chapter but will be referring to the verses. I don't want it to get too wordy.
The study of this chapter has led me to see the beauty of a faithful heart and the hardness and emptiness of the life of a person who follows his own way. (insert info on Hezikiah)

To start the chapter we have king Ahaz and the people of Judah  "shaking in their boots" over information that the northern kingdom of Israel and Aram were preparing to try to subdue the southern kingdom, Judah, Ahaz's kingdom, again.

 I say again because they had done this before. In 2Chron.28:5-15, we read the story of one of the invasions where the kingdom of Judah was defeated. The people of Judah were cruelly carried off by the northern kingdom of Israel and Aram (Syria). In that situation the Lord intervened by sending a prophet who shamed their Israelite brothers into letting them go. So they fed the hungry, and redressed the naked and delivered them to their brothers in Jericho.

 The salvation of Ahaz and his people clearly came at the direct hand of the Lord in this earlier situation. 

Now, in chapter 7:1-12 , we have Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem about to be under siege again. It is obvious that the earlier invasion where the people were saved by the hand of God had made no impression on Ahaz.  When he is again faced with invasion, he really doesn't want to hear from, or co-operate with, the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah does what God directs him to do. He takes his son named, "A remnant shall return" and he goes down to the cities water supply to meet with the king as he checks the cities  incoming water. Then the Lord speaks to Ahaz through Isaiah. 

He tells him "take care, be calm, do not be fainthearted". Per Eerdman's, the Hebrew indicates...Be careful, be calm, do nothing .
Isaiah goes on to tell Ahaz the enemies plans of destruction for them but berates Aram and Israel as weak and unable to effect anything. He keeps calling the King of Aram the "son of Ramaliah". He does this to remind Ahaz that he is the "son of David", while the king of Aram is a son of "Ramaliah" a nobody.

In verse 7:7 the Lord says that the destruction  just isn't going to happen. Their plans will come to nothing and as a matter of fact, Ephraim won't even be considered among God's people anymore. But, then Isaiah says; If you won't believe, you will not last. This still made no impression on Ahaz.

This is such a beautiful picture of the Lord reaching out to Ahaz and asking him to trust. He clearly gives  Ahaz details of trouble coming  to his life that people rarely get (I sure wish He would do this for me sometime) and yet, Ahaz would rather handle the situation his own way. Ahaz had no desire to wait and see what the mighty hand of God would do.

On the surface, Ahaz's response, in verse 7:12,  might appear like a godly attitude but really what transpired was Ahaz was barely listening to Isaiah. He had no intention of regarding a sign from God as proof of  His intent to keep Judah safe. Ahaz was intent on his own course and his own abilities to handle the situation. Basically, He didn't want God's help. That's what prompts the response from Isaiah in verse 7:13.

Notice that in verses 7:13-16,  Isaiah is addressing the "house of David", not just Ahaz. 

These next verses are some of the most famous in the bible. They are verses associated with Christmas. They are a prophesy about Jesus.
These verses are very familiar to most of us, however the familiarity can cause us to miss some key details that are in this verse.

 We have very little info about Jesus as an infant. This verse tells us that even Jesus had a time when He did not know good from evil. He was too young to understand the difference and therefore He was unable to sin. We know that Jesus was without sin,(2:Cor.5:21). But, what about other infants, unborn babies and particularly people who perish before they can reach the age of understanding good and evil.

There has been a long standing belief that babies, who die too early or are aborted, automatically go to hell. This belief comes from the doctrine adopted from the writings of a man who lived in the second century AD named Augustine (354-430AD).  Today, it is called the Doctrine of "original sin". He based his 
beliefs on Rom.5:12-21 and 1st Cor. 15:22.


His assertion is that all people are born under the burden of original sin. The sin has been passed down from Adam to us and there is no escape. Death came to all of us this way. Which is true. There was no death before Adam and Eve sinned.

 The part of Augustine's doctrine that I don't understand is how all human beings dieing translates to all human beings going to hell even before they have a chance to know good from evil. I do agree with Romans 5:12-21 and Augustine that all men die a physical death and that all men, if they live long enough, are doomed to sin. There is no question about that. But ,Augustine's assertion that physical dieing and going to hell are equal to the same thing is what I am questioning. His doctrine has innocents going straight to hell if they perish before there is any hope of salvation through belief in Christ.

 Before Adam and Eve sinned, they did not know good from evil. They were not going to die. (Gen.2:16-17)
The word for "know" here in Isaiah 7:15 and the word for "knowing" in Gen.3:22 ,referring to Adam and Eve, Is from the same root word in the Hebrew.
Young infants and unborn babies spend time in the same state as Adam and Eve in so far as they have a time when they do not know good from evil. 

Even Augustine himself found this idea unimaginable, so the doctrine of infant baptism was instituted. If you are not familiar with that, the idea is that if you baptize a baby, by pouring water over it's head, and saying some holy words, you can save it's little soul from hell. I can't agree with this. Baptism is an outward manifestation of an inward transformation.

I am not trying to throw out anyone's beliefs. I am just sorting through some of the things that we have blindly taken for granted. I myself have never actually thought about the doctrine of original sin until now. I am now sorting through this whole idea and I am asking you to do the same. I think that it is important to know why we believe what we believe.

I know for sure that I do not believe that an infant can be saved from hell by having water sprinkled on it's head. But, I also do not believe that infants that die before they have reached the age of knowing good from evil, automatically go to hell.

I am no expert! And ultimately, what is true, is true. But it will take eternity to prove out any of our ideas when it comes to these doctrines.

These are some of the scriptures that have shaped my opinion on these subjects.

Psalm 139:13-18, David talks about his time in the womb with the Lord. David was keenly aware of the Lord's hand even in the forming of his unborn body. 

We forget this private time, in secret, that all humans have with the Lord. It's a time before each human knows good from evil. In verse 139:16, David says. "Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance" David is talking here about when he was a blobby embryo and he had the complete focus of the almighty God. 

I believe that the Lord has personally constructed every baby that has ever been in the womb,and all of their days are recorded in the Lord's book of days (psalm 139:16). He knows when and if, they will walk the earth for even one day. 

In Ezek. 16:20-21, the Lord is speaking to His people about sacrificing their infants in the fire to other god's. He says, "you slaughtered "my children, and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire". He calls the helpless infants "His children". Could He possibly send "His children" automatically to hell before they even know  the difference between good and evil?

We know that the Lord's heart is for the weak, the helpless and the poor. 

I know a few ladies who suffer because they had an abortion before they knew of the gracious saving power of the Lord. They have been told that they sent their little one to eternal damnation. My God is the savior of the weak and the helpless. In Matt. 19:14 Jesus says, "Let the little children alone, and do not keep them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these". 

This is all I'm going to write about this subject. I know what the doctrine of the infant baptizers is, so please don't write to me assuming that I don't know the verses they use to justify their beliefs. Simply know that their rational and beliefs came from one man's interpretation of the scriptures. (this is why reading and studying on your own is so important)

So, time to finish this chapter. In 7:17-20,
Isaiah, having reached the end of pleading with Ahaz to trust the Lord, tells the king what is going to happen to him and his people. Remember in the beginning of this chapter it's the coalition between Aram and the Jewish brother country, Israel, that Ahaz and the people are afraid of. Isaiah informs him that it is the king of Assyria that he should fear. 

We read in 2 Chron.28:16-26, that Ahaz goes to the king of Assyria to take care of the problem himself. 
Read how that turned out.

He says the Lord will control the armies as if they were swarms of bugs and with swarms of locusts will be numerous and everywhere , devouring and destroying everything.In verse 7:20 it says the "Lord will shave with a razor, hired from the regions beyond the Euphrates (again the Assyrians)." This was an indication that the men would be humiliated and left to mourn. The Jewish men did not shave or even, trim their beards. They believed that Lev.19:27 forbid it.
Isaiah is telling Ahaz that he and the men of his people would be humiliated and left with absolutely nothing.
The next verses to the end of the chapter are not hopeful verses for Ahaz and the people who usually lived fortunate easy lives but they were very encouraging verses for the people who were left in the land. 

Remember,in 2nd Kings 24:14, we are told that only the poorest of the land were left when Judah was taken into captivity. So these last few verses of the chapter, are the time when only the poorest people were to be left in the land.

 In verse 7:21, it talks about a man keeping alive a heifer and a pair of sheep. This would be a man left behind from the captives. A poor man, one of the poorest in the land. He now has a heifer and two sheep! 
In verse 7:22, Isaiah speaks of his animals producing milk, as a matter of fact, they produce so much that he has enough to make curds from his milk. This will happen through out the land for everyone who is left. All the poor will now have an ample supply of milk but not just milk. The sweetness of the land will come to them too. Everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey! They fed that to their babies. We know that from verse 7:15.

These verses are a promise to the poor. They are going to have abundant food. Their children will be well fed, the bees will be busy in the fields that will go to seed and the brambles will be full of wild game that they can hunt. There would be food for the poor who were going to be left behind.
 These verses would sound so threatening to Ahaz but they would have been verses of hope to the poor. 
All of the fields that were forbidden to the poor when they were owned by the rich, which had towers built in them to keep the hungry poor out (Isa. 1:8) are now unguarded. The rich would not allow them to become full of brambles, but the poor will use the
same manicured fields to pasture the flocks the Lord has given them.  



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 6

This chapter starts by giving us a historical time frame for 
Isaiah's famous vision of the throne room of God.In verse 6:1, It says; "In the year of king Uzziah's death...."  In 2nd Chronicles 29, we get the story of King Uzziah.
He became King when he was 16. He followed the Lord until his pride became too great. One day he tried to enter the temple and do the priests job. The temple priests banded together to stop him.When he became enraged, his forehead broke out in leprosy in front of every one in the temple. He quickly rushed from the temple once he realized that the Lord had struck him with leprosy. Unlike Miriam, Moses's sister,(Num.12. Read this it's a very eye opening account of the closeness of the Lord when the people were in the wilderness.) he was not healed of his leprosy, he lived a secluded life until he died. His pride had swallowed  up his very existence. The Lord held him accountable for his pride and his sin.
 **side note **According to  Zech. 14:5, there was a major earthquake during the reign of Uzziah. The prophet, Amos, (Amos 1:1) uses the earthquake to date his visions. Geologists have found evidence of a major earthquake, (8.2) which took place 760BC, (plus or minus 25years) in the ruins of ancient Israel.  I Love it when we have parts of the bible proven by historical facts! 
**side note to the side note** Tradition and Josephus, say that the earthquake happened in conjunction with Uzziah's attempt to disregard the Lord's rules for sacrifice in the temple.  

Throne behind the altar, St Peters Basilica, Rome

The rest of verse 6:1 starts to describe the incredible vision that Isaiah lived through. He says he saw the Lord sitting on His throne, lofty and exalted, lifted up. (kings in those days would build their thrones at the top of a high platform that would have stairs leading up to them. It would put them above everyone else even when they were sitting down and would make them appear larger than their subjects below.) and the train of His robe filled temple. (Per Eerdmans, a better translation of the word temple would be palace). 

In Verses 6:2-7,We get a glimpse into the eternal. It starts with a  description of the Seraphim (fiery ones). With the description given to us by Isaiah, it is hard for us to imagine what he was actually seeing. I did a search on  Google Images of  Seraphim.  The pictures that  people have drawn are all very different from eachother.

  People describe what they see through the lens of their own finite memory. Isaiah, although  allowed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, is no different. John's description of his vision of the throne room  of God in Rev. 4:2-9 is similar but with more detail. The angels are doing the same thing. They are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy",( 3 times for the trinity) "is the Lord God almighty". In Isaiah it says they say" heaven and earth are full of your glory". In Rev.4, they say "who was and is, and is to come"   
 Verse 6:6 is particularly interesting. One of the Seraphim flew to him with a burning coal in his hand. The Lord makes sure that we know that the Angel used tongs to remove the burning coal from the fire. The fire was real and  possibly, too hot or too holy for the Seraphim to touch with his bare angel hand. Compare this to Rev.8:3-4. The angel in this passage is holding a golden censer (also not touching the hot coals with his bare hands). He takes the prayers of the saints and  a large amount of incense and mixes them together.  (I envision him kneading them together like bread dough) He takes the mixture and adds it to the burning coals from the altar that is ,"before the throne of God". He then uses the censer, which is in his hand, to hold the incense mixed with the prayers of the saints and the burning coals from the altar, to present the beautiful aroma which rises before our Lord. In the reality of eternity, our prayers are tangible, touchable, able to be mixed with eternal incense and heated with the fire of heaven. (Psalm 141:2)

All of this brings up some very important considerations about our eternal destination. We tend to think of heaven and our eternity in the light of what we consider a spirit world. We think of our eternity and the place where God dwells as a foggy, misty, ghostly place that if we were to enter with our fleshly bodies we would fall right through vapory streets and walk through substance-less walls but that's not what the scripture teaches. I think the problem is that we, with our finite minds, have difficulty imagining another reality that is just as tangible as the one our  human flesh can experience. 

Scientists have felt for a long time that there are other dimensions, other spatial realities that we can't comprehend. We, as Christians, know that there is more to life than what our eyes can see. While scientists are not equating any of their findings to proof that God and heaven do exist, they are now willing to admit that something else is going on. 
I found this article on the NOVA website. This is a "briefed up" version of the article: 


  • By Rick Groleau
  • Posted 10.28.03
  • NOVA

"For most of us, or perhaps all of us, it's impossible to imagine a world consisting of more than three spatial dimensions. Are we correct when we intuit that such a world couldn't exist? Or is it that our brains are simply incapable of imagining additional dimensions—dimensions that may turn out to be as real as other things we can't detect?
String theorists are betting that extra dimensions do indeed exist; in fact, the equations that describe superstring theory require a universe with no fewer than 10 dimensions. But even physicists who spend all day thinking about extra spatial dimensions have a hard time describing what they might look like or how we apparently feeble-minded humans might approach an understanding of them. That's always been the case, and perhaps always will be".


The scripture teaches that we are not going to a vapory place when we die. The description of the millennium in Zechariah 14, talks about celebrating the Feast of Booths and the bells of the horses being inscribed with "holy is the Lord". All the cooking pots (cooking pots?) will be holy to the Lord. 

The beginning of that chapter talks about Jesus's feet standing on the Mount of Olives. It goes on to describe the actual transformation of Jerusalem, describing places that we can go see now with our inferior human eyes that we will see transformed when we are in our perfected state.

The description of where we will live for all eternity in Rev.21, is full of very familiar objects and ideas. We are also given concrete measurements of heaven. I believe this is by God's very design to convince us of the tangibleness of where we will be when we go to be with Him. 

The gold and jewels are described in great detail. The appreciation of gold and jewels for their beauty is universal among human beings.
I believe that this desire to own and gaze upon what the world would describe as "precious", is a God given desire in the heart of man. We are all desiring heaven. We are born desiring to live forever on the streets of gold surrounded by the walls of jewels. The Lord did not decorate heaven to satisfy our desire for jewels. Rather, He put the desire for heaven in our hearts. 

 Those rocks, oyster coated specks of sand and ,bright yellow dirt are so beautiful to us because God says they are beautiful. He has built His GLORIOUS city out of the heavenly version of these earthly substances. 

 I have thought a lot about the next part of this passage. In verse 6:7, it says Isaiah's mouth was touched with the burning coal and his iniquity was taken away. I still have a lot of questions about this but the one thing that has impressed me regarding this verse is that, Isaiah was touched and cleansed in the very area that he felt most vulnerable and sinful. Remember in verse 6:5, he says "Woe is me, I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips," And now this would be the part of him that the Lord would use to fulfill his calling as the Lord's prophet. 

I have always loved verse 6:8. The Lord says "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (notice the Lord doesn't say Who will go for me? He speaks of Himself in the plural, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) He speaks this almost the way that a Father might speak a question out loud to get an expected response from a child. And, Isaiah, presumably being the only human around, responds as a young boy would.

 "Here I am, send me". The Lord then gives him his marching orders; He tells him to go and challenge them in their own behavior. 
In verse 6:9 The Lord says, "Tell them keep on listening but do not perceive.  Keep on looking but do not understand." The Lord Himself explains this to the disciples in Matt.13:14.

Verse 6:10, says;  Render or make (by his preaching) the heart of the people  Insensitive, 
(lit. fat).

Their ears dull, (lit. heavy) and their eyes dim (lit. be-smeared). The point here is that the Lord is saying, that the people would find a way to become even duller and more insensitive to Him. The very preaching of this prophet will drive the people farther away instead of calling them closer. Even still, Isaiah was to fulfill his calling.
Then, verse 6:11, Isaiah innocently asks how long is he to preach this warning to them.

The rest of this chapter the Lord once again speaks of the devastation that will come upon Jerusalem and the people. The last verse contains the message of hope in the promise of the coming devastation. 
As in chapter 5, the fire is promised again. The fire that in a strange way will cleanse, leaving a stump which is the Holy seed. In Isaiah chapter 11, we are told that "a shoot will spring from the root of Jesse (Jesse was king David's father), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.

Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. It also ties all of this information together.

 Chapters like this one give us an incredible look into eternity. It is a place where our prayers are tangible, fire is too holy to touch and the angels are mighty male beings, not chubby babies or beautiful women. God's word is so amazing. We just have to keep reading. Time for chapter 7.

God bless you ladies. I'm praying for all of you........


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 5:24-30

From verse 5:24 to the end of the chapter, a general judgement is pronounced on the people for all the forms of wickedness that have plagued their society and angered the Lord. 
He uses the tradition, that the farmers had of burning the fields to clear them, to give an example of what was going to be happening to their beloved home land. .
 He uses the scorched grass and rotting roots to tell them that there would be judgement inflicted upon them as well as judgement that would come in the form of consequences which would be a direct result of their wickedness. The fire was going to take care of the surface problems and then the roots, which would usually be spared by the fire, would rot  of their own accord. 

 Isaiah is also using this analogy to let them know that it would not be a quick process. It was going to take some time to see this judgement to its conclusion. (When Ezekiel was taken into captivity with the first wave of exiles it would be eleven years before Jerusalem fell and was completely devastated.)

When the children of Israel were taken into exile, the royal line of Judah looked like it would not be producing the messiah after all. Their royal roots had been rotten for a long time. The devastation seemed complete. Their way of life was gone. Everything they owned belonged to the enemy that marched in and obliterated their lives at God's command.

Of course they had the promise from Genesis 49:10 that said that Judah would remain the royal line, that the kingdom would not depart from the tribe of Judah until the messiah came, but now everything they saw would make them believe that the kingdom was gone. 

Here is where these encouraging words from Isaiah become important, "Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glory".(Isa. 11:10)  

 If we look just at the prophesies of Isaiah, he tells them many times that "the root" will come back and save them, and their land. 
 He says "the root" because he needed them to know that just as a root lies dormant in the ground, unseen but still full of life,the Lord was still with them. They could not see Him in their terrible trial. They had to be faithful and trust Him, and some would.

 Daniel was a classic example of an Israelite whose faith in the Lord sustained him through the great exile. Many scholars believe that it was because of Daniel that the wise men (Matt. 2) were watching for the Lord's star and came to worship Him from the east. Daniel was a classic example of a man who waited to see the "root" come forth again.

In Isaiah 11:10-16, there is a glorious description of when the Lord will come and save them. It starts by saying that the "nations will resort to the root of Jesse" Jesse was King David's father.

In Isaiah 27:6 It says, "In the days to come Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and sprout; (remember verse 5:24, "root will rot, blossom will blow away"), and they will fill the whole earth with fruit.

****side note, per Wikipedia, Israel is one of the worlds leading producers of fresh fruit and vegetables. They grow and incredible amount of fresh produce with a miraculously small amount of water.

 In the end of verse 5:24 we are given the core reason why all of this had to take place. "For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel"

Hints have been given to the people through Isaiah, that the Judgement will come through a war with a foreign nation (Isa.3:25, 5:13), But now the terrible invasion is announced. 

In verse 5:25, He starts to talk of the inevitable as if it's already happened. It is possible that he is talking of what had already happened to the northern kingdom of Israel.

 At one point in Israel's history the nation split in two and became 2 separate kingdoms with separate Kings. The North was know as Israel and the southern kingdom, including Jerusalem was known as Judah. Assyria invaded the northern country of Israel in 722BC. This could have been where    "corpses were laying like refuse in the middle of the street"(5:25). This would be a horrible idea to the Jewish people. To have their dead rotting in the street would mean a total breakdown of their society. 

In verse 5:26, It talks about the Lord lifting up a standard to a distant nation, and whistling for it from the ends of the earth.

 (the King James says "hissing" to them. In their day, bee keepers would hiss at their bees to get them to leave the hive in the morning and hiss to them to return in the evening. Not sure how that worked.)  At any rate, hissing or whistling, the idea is the same. The Lord was in control of the attack on Jerusalem to the point that the enemy  would respond to the direction of the Lord in the same way that bees, dogs or trained sheep would respond. The enemy was coming at His command and timing. 
Isaiah then goes on to warn them about the readiness of the army coming to destroy them.
It is possible that they had already seen this happen to the northern kingdom.

In 2kings 16:7-9 Ahaz, king of Judah asks the king of Assyria for help to fight the kingdom of Israel. The King of Assyria conquered the the kingdom of Israel and displaced all the people. Samaria was the capital city and the King of Assyria did not destroy it but kept it for his own. He filled it with non-Jewish foreigners however. This is what caused the bad relationship between Jews and the people of Samaria which was still evident even in Jesus's day. 

 In verse ,5:27-28, he says that none of them are old and tired. Their equipment is in tip top shape and they are well armed and  their horses are strong. The wheels of their chariots are like whirlwinds (a tornado is a whirlwind). (5:29) The enemy will be like a lioness. (they considered the lioness  to be more fierce than the male lion). No one can fight against or stop a lioness as she carries off her prey. 

 Verse 5:30, The lioness will protect its capture. It will growl over it with the volume and unceasing steadfastness of the sea. Everywhere the people may look, they will see darkness and destruction.
(another side note. I live in Vermont very near the Canadian border. Occasionally there will be fires in Canada so severe that they darken our sky and make the air smokey. There was a lot  of burning, when the cities of ancient times were invaded.) 

Here are some  other books of the bible that give more information about the captivity.

Ezekiel...16:46-49, Ezekiel was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzer at the same time as King Ahaz and Daniel. They were taken 11 years before Jerusalem was destroyed. In these verses he talks about the southern kingdom not heeding the warning of what happened to their sister "Samaria", the northern kingdom.

Habakkuk. In the book of Habakkuk, He starts by complaining to the Lord about the sin of his people, (1:1-4) In verses 5-11, the Lord tells him what he is going to do to finally deal with the evil of the people. Starting in verse 12, Habakkuk is shocked by the Lord's response...keep reading, it's very interesting.

 ancient carving of the captives and their instruments
Psalm 137, is interesting too. The psalm is anonymous probably for a reason. No one wanted to own up to writing a psalm against their captors.
  And the end verse about the "little ones" being dashed against stones, was written to express a desire for revenge for what the invaders had done to the Jewish infants.

Impaled Jews
 Lamentations, all of Lamentations is a mournful comment on the terrible fate of Jerusalem at the time of the captivity. Jeremiah speaks with horror at the things he witnessed as the city and the society fell to their captors. Verse 4:10 of Lamentations is especially sad and moving.

The more you read, the more you realize the connections between the different books of the bible. Keep reading ladies. The bible is so full of amazing history and lessons of faith.

God bless you ladies


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 5:8-23

With this part of the chapter we enter the six "woes".
This is a collection of warnings about sins that the people had committed that had provoked God's displeasure. 
Verse 8 says, "woe to those who join house to house and field to field until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!"

What Isaiah is talking about here is that the rich would buy up as much land as they could and use it to build large mansions, and large vineyards. They did not want neighbors. They wanted the land all to themselves. They wanted to live "alone" in the land. This is what  people, and the world of real estate, has always been like. It is still like this today. The rich have lots of land and big beautiful houses and the poor have very little. We think of this as normal, but the land of Israel is different. It has been different since Abraham walked the earth. The Lord is angry at the children of Israel for doing this because  the land had come to them as a gift from God with a promise that it would always be theirs,(Gen. 13:14-17, 17:18) but also, there were restrictions attached to the ownership of every parcel of land. 

 Leviticus 25:1-34, lists the specific requirements that the Lord gave regarding the land. This passage in Leviticus explains the sabbath year rest for the land and the requirements of what was to happen to the land in the year of Jubilee. The year of Jubilee was supposed to be celebrated every 50 years. No matter what, in the year of Jubilee, land that was bought, sold, bartered or changed hands in anyway, had to be given back to the original owners. If they could redeem the land earlier and buy it back they were aloud to do so, but if they couldn't, the original owners were supposed to be given back their land when the year of Jubilee came. It's ownership would revert back to
the original family that was given the land when the children entered the promised land. 

It was part of a families inheritance and heritage and it was supposed to return to them no matter what the circumstances. The only exception was actual buildings that were built within the city walls. Those did not have to revert back to the families at the year of Jubilee. Some people would buy up these houses and connect them together, "til there is no more room".

 Behind all of this is a condition of the heart, greed and covetousness, over the land that the Lord had given to them, with no regard for others.
Verse  5:9, is very interesting. Remember in chapter three how we discussed the fact that only the poorest  people of the land were left behind when the captivity of Jerusalem took place (2Kings 25:12)? And, in chapter 3, of Isaiah it tells us that ,"the plunder of the poor is in your houses". Here we see that the poor got their chance to plunder the houses of the rich. Verse 5: 9 says" surely many houses will become desolate. Even great and fine ones without occupants"

This second woe in verses 5:11-12, is pretty self explanatory. There were people who lived for their ability to party. There lives revolved around there pleasures with no consideration of the Lord and His works in their lives.
"Therefore my people go into exile" verse 5:13-15. It's a done deal, the people haven't figured this out. They are hungry and thirsty for what is important, but they don't know it. (And we know that they did go into exile for 70 years).

I worked at a bank a number of years ago. The small town I worked in had a disproportionate number of very wealthy people living there. There was one man imparticular whose story I can't forget. He had a lovely wife who was about 15 years his junior. They had 2 very cute, small children under the age of 5. They also had an incredible amount of money in our bank. The money they had with us was just their spending money. They had investments and other bank accounts all over the world. The man's job was to manage his money. I saw the wife more than I saw the man. When I usually saw him, it was in the afternoon. Then one day he came in in the early morning. He was disheveled and shaking badly. He looked 10 years older than he usually looked. It was obvious that he needed a drink to calm his nerves.  When I mentioned his shaking to one of the other girls who worked with me and actually lived in the town where we worked, she said that it was common knowledge that he was an alcoholic. She said that he had recently gotten in trouble again for  drinking and driving and he and his cute little family were going to take a get away trip to Australia to help him dry out.
He was hungry and thirsty, but he had no idea what he was seeking. He had no consideration for the Lord's work in his life .

Verses 5:14-17,  The Lord says; Therefore Hell is ready, it is plenty big enough for the vast amount of people who will slide into hell from this sin. All of Jerusalem would be welcome including the revelers and the jubilant. (I cant help but think of New Orleans) . The people will be humbled and the important people will be brought even lower. But this judgement will show the holiness of the Lord.
Then the lambs will graze in their pastures (5:17) unaffected by the tragedy happening around them and strangers, people the wealthy owners  don't even know, will eat and be sustained by their wealth, fields and property. 
 The poorest of the people, those left behind in the exodus of the captivity, were able to be sustained from what the wealthy had owned and cherished.


The next woe is verse  5:18." Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes".
Mocking God
These people keep their wickedness going with lying and deceit. It is hard work to keep their lies straight. Their sins are a heavy burden they drag behind them not even realizing how heavy their sins are. Verse 5:19, But, they mock God and His followers, demanding to see proof. Pretending that they can't wait to take on the challenge of the Lord's return. 

The next verse, 5:20, is as relevant today as it was when Isaiah recorded this. " Woe to those who call evil good and good evil". They had sons and daughters dedicated to be temple prostitutes. Some who were even in the temple of the Lord. (1st Kings 14:24,15:12, 2Kings23:7). India still has children who are dedicated to be temple prostitutes. They also had temples in Isaiah's day which were for the express purpose of sacrificing their infants to other gods. (1Kings 11:7, 2Kings23:10, Lev.20:2). We do also, they are called abortion clinics. 

  Just as they called what they were doing worship. Our society says they are doing women a great service by getting rid of the children they don't need or want.
"evil good and good evil"

Verse 5:21, says woe to the people who think too much of their intellect.This is about people who think they are too smart to believe in God or any  type of religious beliefs. They think they are too wise to be fooled into believing in anything but themselves. They believe that only people of low intelligence would believe in God. 

"While a man thinks humble of himself, there is a chance that he may repent and amend. When he is "wise in his own eyes" he does not see why he has to change."
The pulpit commentary
WM. B. Eerdmans


  The last "woe" verse 5:22, at first, seems to be a repeat of the second "woe" but with a closer look we can see that there is a big difference. This woe addresses the corruption of a man who does not spend his days languishing at the banquet table to drink, but goes about his daily life with impaired morals  and decision making abilities. His conscience is dulled by the strong drink he consumes. Verse 5:23, He is a man of authority who the people should be able to rely on for fair judgements and moral justice. Instead, he is able to be bribed and has no feelings of compassion and fairness. His decisions can be bought. "he takes away the rights of the ones who are in the right".

Remember; these "woes" are a lament, some of them sterner than others but the idea is  that of a heart felt pity and regret for the situation. It shows a desire to have the situation be different and an emotional warning . Consider Matt. 24:19 "but woe to those who are with child and nursing in those days!". Jesus doesn't say this because He is displeased with pregnant women and nursing mothers. He is lamenting the sad situation and the hardship they will inevitably face when this time in history comes.
 Always, God's heart is to love us and bring us to Himself. 

Keep reading your bibles!! This book is long and complicated but it is so much easier to see the connections in the bible as you spend more time reading and studying. The Lord speaks to us from His word. 
God bless you precious ladies.
I'm praying for all of you