Even though today’s reading is 29-33 I am including chapter 28, because chapter 28 is where the theme of these chapters begin. There are six woes and the first woe is in chapter 28, so really the last chapter of last weeks reading should be with us today.
The woes are things we still should be mindful of…by the way a “woe” is an interjection or exclamation setting up a lament.
Here are the woes:
- The first woe is against the leaders of Israel for their drunkenness and mockery even though destruction is approaching.
- The second woe is against “Ariel” = “Lion of God” (aka Jerusalem) for her religious hypocrisy. It is summed up well in 29:13,
Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,
The third woe is also found in chapter 29 it is again against the leadership of Israel for planning and scheming thinking they can hide their dark desires and plans from God.
The fourth woe is against all God’s rebellious children in Israel who refuse to follow God’s plan but try and execute their own (30:1). Quick note remember Rahab not the former prostitute now redeemed forbearer to Christ, but the mythical sea monster in the book of Job. Yep, that must have been a popular myth because the sea monster of chaos Rahab shows up again in this Woe (30:7).
The fifth woe is against God’s people for relying on Egypt for protection/security rather than God.
The sixth woe actually isn’t against God’s people, this woe is against the enemies of God’s people who try to destroy, but in themselves will be destroyed.
I want to point out that in the midst of all these woes there are continual reminders of God’s love, care, grace, and promise that He still desires to be their God.
We see it in:
- 33:13-24 (by the way look at verse 14-16 doesn’t indicate we will all burn in the last days (the burning being the glory and presence of the consuming fire of God) just some will be burning lamps (those made righteous by God) and some will be burnt to ashes (those who refuse God).
Some people would read these texts and only see the woes. Some may read the texts and only see the joyous promises.
Maybe read the text and see that they are both there. The woes to remind us to not be blind to the dangers, to not be hypocrites, to not make plans apart from God, to not trust in other powers than God, to not continue to ignore God’s ways, and to not seek to destroy the ways/people of God…but the texts of grace and love to remind us there is always a way out of these woes…none of us are stuck in the ruts we’ve made for ourselves!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Matthew 14-16