The prophet Isaiah pronounced six woes on Judah for their excessive apostasy. The woes reveal a civilization rich and corrupt, running after wealth and pleasure, devoid of moral or ethical standards, and having overturned every moral value. In short, the condition of Judah just prior to their Babylonian captivity is a mirror image of America in these last frantic, evil days before the Tribulation. Here, briefly, are the causes of America’s decline and the reasons for her impending judgment.
1. “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!” (5:8). In duplexes, condominiums, townhouses, and apartment buildings, men have heaped themselves together in vast impersonal cities. They find, not safety in these great numbers of godless people, but a false sense of security from the solitude of an empty heart and a biting conscience. We have laid field to field as great corporations have swallowed up farmland and as alien governments and foreign corporations with their pagan, godless cultures have been permitted to buy great chunks of land and American corporations for their own profit.
2. “Woe to those who . . . stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; but they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, nor do they consider the work of His hands” (vv. 11b, 12). Judgment is coming to America because Pleasure has become our idol. And unable to escape our consciences, we have tried to drown them. We have dulled our senses with alcohol and illicit drugs, on the one hand; we have stimulated our senses with music, television, movies, and electronic media, on the other. Pleasure has replaced purpose, and riotous living has subverted religious life. Comedy has supplanted Christ.
3. “Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes” (v. 18). Having found no satisfaction in unmitigated pleasure, we have turned to unbridled iniquity. We have sought for, wooed, and courted sin. Prostitution, sexual perversion, and violent crime seem to be outpacing the birthrate. Government and industry actively encourage both immorality and criminal behavior. Illicit drugs and illicit sex commingle in both the top echelons of government and the lower grades of our public schools.
4. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (v. 20). Having successfully sought out evil, we have now been turned over to it, and all our values have been corrupted. Hard rock is good music. Sexual explicitness is morality. Drugging “hyperactive” children is therapeutic. Giving foreign aid to our enemies and betraying our friends is wise diplomacy. Islam, eastern mysticism, witchcraft, and satanism are honorable religions . . . . The list of perverted values is endless.
5. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!” (v. 21). Having deceived ourselves, we believe a lie, and foolish men think themselves wise. Nearly everyone speaks (but no one understands) legalese, educationese, bureaucratese, and religionese. Wise in its own conceits, our government wants to take our children and educate (i.e., indoctrinate) them for us, and take our money and redistribute it for us because they are wise and prudent technicians but we are ignorant peasants.
6. “Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!” (vv. 22, 23). We have become a nation of alcoholics and drug addicts who run to do evil because there is temporary gain in doing so. Christians are ante-diluvian relics; child-rearing instilled with discipline and a belief in a real Satan and hell and a real God and heaven is a dangerous anachronism. Creationists are anti-scientific fools; moralists are mad. And some real Christians who dare place their children in private schools have been jailed or have lost custody of their children. Biblical Christianity is growing increasingly alien and antagonistic to the American culture.
If space permitted, we could continue indefinitely this litany of sin. Suffice it to say that great and terrible judgment is about to fall on America and the world according to the Scriptures but that Christ “is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
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