“Woe to the Rebellious Children”

Babylonian Siege of Jerusalem

‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ declares the Lord, ‘Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation’” (Isaiah 30:1-3).

In the passage above, the Lord condemned the people of Judah for making an alliance with Egypt. The Lord made four points to them:

  1. Their plan was not God’s.
  2. Their alliance was not of God’s spirit.
  3. As a result, their sin would increase.
  4. Their sin would eventually bring them shame.

Even though this was addressed to the people of Judah, the same basic points apply to us today.

  1. We need to make sure our plans are according to God’s will – The wise man said, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:1-3). In other words, though we have the freedom to choose how we will direct our lives, it will be far better for us in the end if we commit our works to the Lord to do His will. If we simply follow the way that “seems right” to us, it will lead to “death” (Proverbs 16:25).
  2. We need to make sure our alliances are spiritually acceptable – Among those who are faithful to the Lord and will encourage us to do what is right, we must be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). However, when it comes to those who refuse to submit to the Lord, we must not allow them to influence us to do evil. Paul warned, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
  3. We must not continue in sin – The grace of God must never be seen as “a license for immorality” (Jude 4, NIV). Paul wrote about this to the saints in Rome: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Christians are not to live as the world lives. However, when we allow sin to increase in our lives, it will result in an increasingly hostile attitude toward what is good. Jesus warned about this when He spoke of the coming destruction of Jerusalem: “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). If we continue in sin, our condition will only “proceed from bad to worse” (2 Timothy 3:13).
  4. If we continue in sin, it will bring us shame – Paul warned that continuing in sin will cause our “conscience” to be “seared” to the point that we no longer feel guilt for our sin (1 Timothy 4:2). However, even if we no longer feel guilty, at some point our sin will cause us to “shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28). However, at that point it will be too late to change anything. Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). If we follow after sin and refuse to obey the Lord, the only thing we will have to look forward to is “the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

What is the solution to the problem of rebelling against God? Rather than being like Judah who went “down to Egypt without consulting [God]” (Isaiah 30:2), we need to seek His counsel. His word shows us what is right. Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If we want to follow the way of righteousness and be engaged in good works, we need to follow what God’s word teaches.

Let us not be “rebellious children” (Isaiah 30:1). Instead, we should strive to be “obedient children” who are “holy” as He is “holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).