What is Good? (Isaiah 5:20)
- Verse 20 is broken into three phrases. They all mean the same basic thing.
- This is just the typical Hebrew poetry style of writing common in the OT.
- They say something, and then they say it again, using different words, to add emphasis.
- The repeating and subtle word choices would add emphasis and meaning for the Hebrews.
- Context: To understand this passage, we need to Understand some of the Context.
- Isaiah was of course one of the OT prophets that God used to speak to His people.
- Isaiah’s ministry was from 740 BC to 681 BC. This was during the time of the Divided Kingdom.
- Much of Isaiah’s ministry was to call the people to repentance and to prophecy the coming of Jesus.
Prophetic words spoken in the OT usually had multiple fulfillments.
- In the time and day of the prophet.
- Relating to the coming or person of Jesus.
- Relating to the eschaton.
Daniel and Ezekiel have sections that relate to the end times.
- The word could also be for what is now our day.
Let’s briefly start with the time of Isaiah.
- Isaiah spoke what God called him to speak. And God wasn’t happy with the people.
- We know that Isaiah spoke during the time of the divided Kingdom, so things were not Good.
- These two verses are a part of the Woes section. Each statement from the prophet starts with a “woe.”
- The word woe here is typically used “preparatory to a declaration of judgment.”
- So, each time the prophet says woe, there is the implication that judgment is to follow.
- One commentator suggested this Hebrew word woe was as often associated with Funerals.
- The woe describes the sins of the people in contrast to the ways God has called them to live.
- Verse 21 Being wise in your own eyes carries the same implication of judgment that calling good evil does.
- This verse shows the outcome of verse 20.
For our Day: what do we do?
How do we respond?
First, How do we respond to this passage for ourselves.
- Remember the Woe of God is already on them.
- Don’t join in the name calling.
- Point them to Jesus
- Jesus is absolute goodness.
- Once they experience the goodness of Jesus
- Evil will have no allure.
Now how do we respond to this passage for ourselves?
- Examine our own lives.
- Do we even in subtle ways endorse as good, things God says are evil?
- Repent for what for the parts of culture we have agreed with, that grieves God?