Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Drunk On Their Own Prestige

Isaiah 28:1-13

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!  Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.” (Isaiah 28:1-4)

When Judah and Israel separated, Israel established their capital in the land of the tribe of Ephraim.  Much like Washington, DC, Samaria became a place where political figures congregated, living off the earnings of the rest of the people and setting themselves up as more important.  God said their glory and power were like a fading flower, and that the nation was in serious decline.  It was like a bunch of drunks were running the country, with no thought about the results of what they were doing. 

God had placed a strong country in position that would destroy their pride, coming like a sudden storm or a wave of flood waters, with no concern for who Israel’s leaders were.  The rich city of Samaria would disappear like a wild strawberry, a tasty morsel, not even big enough to save for later.   Just a short time after Isaiah made this prophecy, the Assyrians destroyed Israel and relocated the people, and most of them have yet to return to Israel. 

“In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” (Isaiah 28:5-6)

When the Lord returns and establishes his earthly kingdom with Jerusalem as his capital, at the end of the tribulation, He will receive the respect and glory of all the nations.  He will lift up and strengthen the remnant of the Jews, encouraging them and ruling with a rod of iron.  There will be no crime or fear at that time. 

“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.  For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” (Isaiah 28:7-8)

Israel and her leaders had gotten drunk on the heady wine of wealth and power and had run off the right way like a drunk running off the road.  The prophets and priests who were supposed to keep them out of trouble were just as drunk as the others, and couldn’t see the road themselves or make logical decisions.   It was like they were so drunk they didn’t even bother to leave the table before they puked any more, no longer even bothering to hide their wickedness. 
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” (Isaiah 28:9-13)

When people become alcoholics, they usually reach a point where they think they are smarter than everyone else and it becomes almost impossible to teach them anything.  It is a lot easier to teach them before they start to drink.  In the same way it is far easier and more profitable to teach those who have not gotten addicted to the wine of power or wealth. 

A small child’s food has to be cut into pieces small enough to keep him from choking on them.  Later as he grows he learns how to bite off pieces or cut it up himself, but no matter how old he gets, he still has to eat it in pieces small enough he can swallow them.   A mistake many teachers make is not taking the time to break things down into bite sized pieces for the people they are trying to teach or giving their students the opportunity to break it down themselves if they are able.  Until they can chew and swallow one precept or idea, they are not ready for the next one.  The main reason so many American schools are failing is that they are so busy trying to get a complete education down their students throats they don’t take time to let him completely understand one point before giving him another one.  Eventually the students begin to choke.   

The majority of choking cases involving and adult are the result of drinking too much.  As a result they put too much in their mouth at once or try to breathe while swallowing and end up choking.  God’s approach was to teach a little, one precept or one line at a time until they could understand it before moving to the next one.   Because they were drunk on their power and wealth, Israel wound up choking even on those precepts, falling backward or otherwise hurting themselves as a result. 

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