The Good Life
Breathe deeply and ask God to carry you from the noise of our world’s opinions into the peace and wisdom of his presence.
Read Isaiah 5:8–23
8 Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
9 The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine;
a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.”
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
to run after their drinks,
who stay up late at night
till they are inflamed with wine.
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
pipes and timbrels and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord,
no respect for the work of his hands.
13 Therefore my people will go into exile
for lack of understanding;
those of high rank will die of hunger
and the common people will be parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Death expands its jaws,
opening wide its mouth;
into it will descend their nobles and masses
with all their brawlers and revelers.
15 So people will be brought low
and everyone humbled,
the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;
lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.
18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, “Let God hurry;
let him hasten his work
so we may see it.
The plan of the Holy One of Israel—
let it approach, let it come into view,
so we may know it.”
20 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.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you currently following the crowd and their self- pleasing ways? Or are you following God’s path?
Now, as in Isaiah’s day, people around us enjoy wealth (8) and social influence, become party animals (11,12,22), play the legal system (23) and generally enjoy “the good life.” People sneer at our faith (18,19), tell lies about the truth (20) and rejoice in the ability of human cleverness to solve all of the world’s problems (21).
If this approach seems to work so well, why should we not follow the crowd? Appearances can deceive. We have described not the good life but the bad fruit God lamented in verse 2. And he is about to do some vigorous gardening. As surely as exile and destruction came upon Israel, the ungodly fruit of our age will also crumble into dust.
Rather than point the finger of judgment at others, we would do better to take stock of our own lives. Do our actions confirm that riches are for the blessing of all (8,9)? As we attend Christmas parties, are our celebrations of God’s work sincerely joyful (12)? How do we value his wisdom above our own in the complications of daily life (21)?
If you feel alone or rejected, ask the Holy Spirit for comfort and courage. If you feel convicted of sin, ask the Lord for a new start.
Lord of all, I need You. Take my life and make what You want of it. Have Your way in me.
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