Isaiah 5:8-17 Warning: Wealth and Pleasure

Isaiah told the people that God has done all He could do to have them produce good fruit in their lives. When we are talking about the fruit that God is looking for it is the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit that was being produced in the people’s lives was sour grapes so although it looked good from afar it was really worthless because you could not eat it or make wine from it. Many people look good from the outside but God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and He knows who we really are even though we may fool others.

Many people are claiming that they are having Spiritual experiences in churches and around the world but if you have an encounter with the Spirit of God and it does not lead you to conviction of sin (John 16:8-11) and to have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) then you did not encounter the Spirit of God. Unfortunately many people are deceived by other spirits that are not from God and that is why 1 John 4:1 tells us to test the Spirits because not every spirit we encounter is God. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says we should examine ourselves to see if we are really Christians because a time will come when God will check the fruit of our lives and declare us worthy or worthless and at that point it will be too late.

Although Isaiah knew that the way they were living was wrong it did not cause him to have anger toward the people but it caused him to be heartbroken for his nation and the lives they were living and the lies they believed. Isaiah will begin to give them warnings and call out the sins that they no longer see as sins and tell them the truth about their lives because he loves them. We have the responsibility to tell people the way they are living is wrong but we have to do it in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The warning Isaiah gave to his people is a warning to us because the things that they were dealing with are the very things we are dealing with in America. The warnings or woes are the rotten fruit that they were producing even though they thought their lives were producing good results. We need to learn from the very things Isaiah was warning them about so that we do not become deceived and fall into the same lies that they gave themselves over to.

Isaiah 5:8-10 Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres[a] of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”[b]

1)   Warning of Wealth

“Woe to you who add house to house and field to field. “The people were doing all they could to add to their wealth without taking others into consideration. Technically the land could not be bought and sold because it was promised to different tribes of Israel (Numbers 27:7-11; 1 Kings 21) so they were ignoring God by ignoring the different designations that He gave to the Children of Israel. The land belonged to the Lord just like the things of this earth (Psalm 24) but they were buying up all the land and homes around them so they could create large houses and farm lands that would literally leave them away from others. Isaiah’s warning is that these things will be taken away from them and the area they once were in would become desolate and grazed on by sheep.

The problem is that wealth can lead you away from Christ because you become more consumed with it than you do with Him.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If you are wondering if you have a love of money then you just need to evaluate how much do you think about money compared to thinking about Jesus. You also have a love of money when you will sin to attain it so if you have ever lied or cheated to get more money then you have a love of money. You have a love of money when you trust in it more than you trust in God.

The people in Isaiah’s day were bribing judges so they could steal land for their own gain because they thought that the more they had the more content they would be. Money, just like anything else you seek in this world, cannot bring you the happiness and contentment you seek. Worse than money not fulfilling you is that money can actually lead you to a greater doom by thinking the things of this world are all there is to this life.

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

The people in Isaiah’s day were consumed with money and possessions and it had led them away from their devotion to God. Our wealth and blessings from God are not to be hoarded for our own benefit but used to be a blessing to others and for the Kingdom of God. When the money God has blessed us with consumes us and we only see how we can benefit ourselves with it then we have lost focus on what is really important.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Any smart investor wants to get the most out of their investment by investing in what will benefit them the most. Both Jesus and Paul tell us that whatever investment we make here on earth will be an investment made for all eternity in Heaven.(Matthew 6:20 ) The Apostle Paul is not saying to get rid of your wealth and live a life of poverty but he is warning them to make sure they do not forget that money cannot bring fulfillment and it can lead you away from Jesus who is the only one who can fill you (Matthew 5:6). Studies have shown that an increase in one’s wealth has not meant an increase in happiness and yet we all tend to believe the lie that if we had a little more money our problems would go away. God is getting ready to remove the wealth from the rich to show them that their trust and contentment should be in Him and not the things of this world. If God were to remove your wealth would you still be content in Him? If not, why not?

Isaiah 5:11-12 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! 12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.

2)   Warning of Pleasure

“They do not regard the deeds of the Lord or see the work of His hands” The people in Isaiah’s day were seeking their own pleasure instead of seeking the will of God. They were consumed not only with wealth but with satisfying every desire they had.

Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Jesus was telling the disciples that God knows all of our needs but that we should not be like the rest of the world who makes those things a priority. Our first thought should not be our pleasure or even our needs but the things of God.

“When the passion for pleasure has become uppermost in a person’s life, passion for God and his truth and his ways are squeezed out.” J.N.  Oswalt

The people Isaiah is addressing are people that looked forward to their own happiness. We live in a world of technology that we watch shows when we want not when the network tells us to watch them. We say statements like “ Follow your heart” or “Whatever makes you happy” but Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful and Jesus was obedient until death not until He was not happy. (Philippians 2:8) We live in a society that does not want to do anything that goes against their personal happiness or pleasure.

Somewhere along the way, we ceased to be a culture where kids aspire to be adults, and we became a culture where adults aspire to be kids, or at least adolescents forever.” (A practical Guide to Culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle, Pg. 133

People who are consumed with their own pleasure do not make the things of God a priority. Isaiah accuses them of drunkenness and seeking pleasure and our society can be accused of the same things. We have to be carful that we do not believe the lie that we deserve to be happy when God calls us to be Holy. One of the ways we are being programmed for our own desires is through technology. Although technology is not bad in and of itself there are some definite things that can cause us to lose sight of The Kingdom of God and make the world about our kingdom.

Isaiah 5:13-17 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge;[ their honored men go hungry,[b] and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem[c] and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty[d] are brought low. 16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted[e] in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich

3)   Consequences of ignoring the Warnings

A) Spiritual Hunger

Honored men go hungry, multitude is parched with thirst.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Hollywood is the greatest example that Money, fame and stuff will not bring you happiness. Our souls long for to know God and Jesus claims in this verse He is God in the flesh.

B) Spiritual and Physical Death

Sheol has enlarged its appetite

Death is the great equalizer for all of humanity. No matter your wealth, popularity or position we will all eventually leave this earth and Isaiah makes death sound like a hungry monster who is never satisfied.

What happens after we die is a question we all need to answer.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Not only will we all face death physically but there is death in this world as well. Death of a career, death of a marriage and death of relationships all happen because of our pursuit of other things for our own desires and pleasures. When we try and attain the things only Christ can satisfy through the world they only lead us to more hurt and pain.  Hebrews 11:25 tells us that sin is fun for a season but seasons end and so does the enjoyment or the satisfaction the thing outside of God you are looking to bring fulfillment to your life.

Jeremiah 2:13 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The world may laugh at you for a time but when they are empty and broken they will at least know where to find the answer to eternal and spiritual life. The problem is we as Christians buy into the lie that the things of this world will satisfy us and we do not show the world that there is more to this life then what exist today.

God will humble them by removing the things that they desire over Him but Gods ultimate goal is not to harm but it is to make us Holy and sometimes the removal of the things we have made idols in our lives is what needs to happen. The things of this world will Pass away (2 peter 3:10) and God wants us to be in a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ so we can enjoy Him in Heaven forever. (John 3:16-17)

DO you think wealth and Pleasure are going to bring you the satisfaction you think they will? Are you tired of trying things the world’s way?  The life Jesus offers is more than the physical things of this world it is the spiritual that only He can fill in you.  Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness for they will be filled.” If you are trying to fill your life with everything besides the free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) then you will find out that you will be chasing after things that will never satisfy your soul.

 

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