Wednesday in the First Week of Advent

Isaiah 5:1-30

The Awful Rewards for Injustice

Chapter five of Isaiah rounds out the Lord’s indictments of Judah’s behavior, which is rooted in injustice.  It begins with Isaiah singing a song about his “Beloved,” who is the Lord, and the “vineyard,” which his Beloved planted.  It is clear in the story that the Lord does everything He can do for His vineyard, digging it, clearing it, planting the best grapes.  But what did the vineyard do in return?  It yielded wild grapes.  Switching to the first person, the Lord then calls on the people of Judah to judge between Him and His vineyard; that is, themselves.  Had not God done everything He could do for them?  The story speaks to Judah’s faithlessness to the Lord, just as we saw in Monday’s devotion.  God had done His part; why had Judah (God’s people) failed to do theirs?

Because of their love for sin, especially, injustice.  It is woven throughout the entire chapter.  “Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land,” speaks to the greed of the rich who buy up all the land and leave their poorer brethren with nothing.  “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them,” obviously speaks to excessive drinking, but again the accent is upon those who can afford such luxurious and selfish living.  These even dare the Lord to punish them: “Let the counsel of the Holy One draw near, and let it come that we know it.”  These know nothing of the fear of God that is the path of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7 and throughout); they know not that “our God is a consuming fire,” and that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31 & 12:29).  Instead they tempt God by calling good evil and evil good.

We live in such days as these, when the salaries of few equal the lifetime earnings of multitudes.  I do not blame people for acquiring wealth, as long as it is honest.  But the Scripture blames us for how we use our wealth.  Do we “add house to house and room to room,” or do we spend it on the poor, or at least on those agencies (preferably Christian) that help the poor and share the gospel with them?  These are grave concerns for Christians that evangelicals have long ignored, opting to preach about sexual sin and immorality in general (which does need to be addressed in these perverse times).  But the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of justice, not that everyone gets the same reward (certainly not, Romans 2:6), but that we should be ever mindful of our poorer neighbor who may need a helping hand.   In short, Advent requires that we examine ourselves to see how we are using our resources for justice, and particularly on behalf of those who need what we could afford to share.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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