11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! 12 “They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands. 13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her. 15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. 16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.”
The LORD’s first woe against the Nation of Judah in the 8th century B.C. was materialism. The second woe was directed towards drunkenness and devotion to pleasure while concurrently the people neglected the LORD’s work of judgment and redemption.
The people’s desire for strong alcoholic drink from early in the morning until late at night prompted condemnation from Isaiah. The people were more concerned with partying and being entertained than having regard for the LORD’s work. The judgment from God would be hunger and thirst. Since this is what the people lived for, God would remove the idol of their appetites.
However, the appetite of Sheol, or the place of the dead, would continue to be large and be enlarged. From the nobility to the commoner, all the rebellious and unrepentant would feel its pain. The prideful sinner would be humbled.
Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “This term (Sheol) in this context pictures death as a great monster with wide-open jaws, ready to receive its victims. Such was to be the fate of those who perish in the captivity God will send to punish the people’s sinfulness.”
The only one who would be exalted, even in judgment, would be the LORD. It is because the LORD shows Himself holy in His righteous justice.
The only ones who would inhabit the land would be lambs and nomadic herdsman. They alone would eat among the ruins of the rich.
The striking parallel between Judah in the 8th century B.C. and America in the 21st century A.D. is huge. Even in the midst of a pandemic, there are those who cannot face the possibility of no parties. So, they engage in at risk behavior and become infected with the corona-virus.
It is time for people to repent or face the judgment from the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!