1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley -- to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, will be trampled underfoot.
4 That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like a fig ripe before harvest -- as soon as someone sees it and takes it in his hand, he swallows it.
5 In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.
6 He will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.
8 All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.
Drunk with Pride (28:1–6)
This is the first in a series of six woes Isaiah pronounces upon God’s people. The prophet declares that Ephraim, another name for the northern kingdom of Israel, will be punished for her pride. The wreath that he refers to is a symbol of royalty and represents the capital city of Samaria. Because the people have lost sight of their true King and instead boast in the glory of their beautiful city, the LORD will send a powerful enemy that will ravage the city like a hailstorm. This judgment will teach His people that even the great city of Samaria is nothing more than a fading flower, and He will once again take His rightful place on the throne of their hearts. It is foolishness to take pride in anything other than God, for He alone is our crown.
- What things in your life do you take the most pride in? In what ways has God humbled you and shown you that He alone is worthy of your trust?
Drunk with Wine (28:7–8)
This declaration of woe is also an indictment against the drunken leaders of Israel. The priests and prophets are so heavily inebriated that they are unable to think or walk properly. These men are supposed to be God’s representatives, but when the LORD speaks to them, their drunkenness prevents them from interpreting visions and making wise decisions. Instead of being led by God, they are controlled by beer and wine. There are many things in this world that can inhibit our awareness of God. This is why the Bible often exhorts us to remain sober-minded so that we can be aware of the movement of the Spirit and follow His leading.
- Instead of being dependent on alcohol or other drugs, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Seek the Lord alone as your source of refreshment, joy, and life.
A letter to God
Lord, I want to live a life of humility and be God-dependent, not self-dependent. You know how easy it is for me to start trusting in my own wisdom and relying on my own strength. May the Holy Spirit keep me humble and dependent on You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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