January 22, 2023

What is Good?

What is Good?

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.

  1. In the time and day of the prophet.
  2. Relating to the coming or person of Jesus.
  3. Relating to the eschaton.

Daniel and Ezekiel have sections that relate to the end times.

  1. 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.

  1. Remember the Woe of God is already on them.
  2. Don’t join in the name calling.
  3. Point them to Jesus
    1. Jesus is absolute goodness.
    2. Once they experience the goodness of Jesus
    3. Evil will have no allure.

Now how do we respond to this passage for ourselves?

  1. Examine our own lives.
    1. Do we even in subtle ways endorse as good, things God says are evil?
  2. Repent
    1. Repent for what for the parts of culture we have agreed with, that grieves God?