By REV. LOU TISCIONE
You don’t often see “woe” used in an article. It’s a word that has fallen out of usage in our day. But it’s a word that ought to be understood and taken seriously.
Woe is used in Scripture to convey a dire warning. It usually precedes God’s judgment. Isaiah 5:20 has led me to reflect on some current issues: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
God was issuing a warning to His people for their abusive and oppressive behavior towards their brothers. More specifically, God was directing His “woe” against the leaders of His people.
The book of Isaiah comprehensively covers God’s judgment and salvation. Chapter 5 was addressed to God’s “vineyard,” His chosen people. God sought justice and righteousness within His people and found none! God’s indictment of wicked people continued. They are described as oppressive, self-serving, unjust and liars. The “woe” quoted from verse 5 is repeated five more times in Chapter 5.
God expects His people to know good from evil. He expects His people to follow “the good.” “The good” is that which is morally and ethically right. The ultimate source of “the good” is God. He has revealed “the good” in His word. “He has told you, O man, what is good.” (Micah 6:8a)
We also have God’s promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him, those whom He has called, Romans 8:28.
The Bible was written to believers but it applies to all people. God does not have a sliding scale. He doesn’t grade on a curve. “All must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthans 5:10)