Archive for July 8th, 2017

If you’ve ever watched a drunk or alcoholic person behave you’ll know exactly what this passage is referring to. Alcohol, and other drugs, do terrible things to people when it’s allowed to get out of control. It changes people’s personalities and their perspective on life. It creates a false sense of superiority and the notion that they can see and think more clearly than they’re really able to. It leads to loud and uncontrolled speech that frequently causes hurt to others. Often though there is still a sense of how the person used to be before the alcohol took over but as it’s described in this passage it’s like a fading flower, a shadow of its former self.

That’s the kind of description Isaiah gives about Ephraim. The leadership there had been irresponsible. They’d forgotten what was required of them and spent too much of their time indulging themselves. The result was that the region was vulnerable to attack from outside and as is so often the case it’s those who are nearest and dearest who will really feel the effects of the suffering about to come.

Isaiah had been tasked with teaching Ephraim the error of its ways but the people simply didn’t want to know. Verse 9 tells us that they thought his teaching was beneath them, that he would have been better teaching infants – they thought they knew better than the one sent by God. Now we can see why the passage is entitled “Woe to Ephraim.” We could easily preach the same things to the people and cultures around us now and get a similar response. There are so many who don’t want to know anything about the God who created them.

There’s a marked change in the text at verse 16. Suddenly there’s the promise of a foundation stone being laid in Zion, a “precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” We know that the cornerstone referred to is Jesus and that He is the foundation on which the New Jerusalem is built but to the Ephraimites it was just nonsense delivered by a man they dismissed as foolish.

The final section teaches us that God always knows what He’s doing. As a farmer knows how to plough God knows how to correct and as the harvester knows how to treat His crops God knows how to teach His people. All wisdom comes from Him.

 

 

 

 

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Father God, help me to be a person who listens to your wisdom and who walks in it. Never let me dismiss your word in preference for one of my own. Amen.

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