Total Depravity and Destruction of the Workers of Iniquity

Isaiah 5:18-23

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let Him be quick, let Him speed His work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!”
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!


In this passage we are confronted with the stark picture of humankind’s depravity.
Paul also speaks of this in Rom. 1:28-32 and Rom. 3:12-18.

Notice of the depraved:

  1. Their Deliberateness (v 18)
    They have a strong resolve to do evil, which God warns not to get involved with them (Prov. 4:14-15).

  2. Their Defiance (v 19)
    They challenge God to speed His work, thus blaspheming in a cheeky way, scorning Him.
    The work that they wanted God to speed was the crucifixion of His Son. They also scorn His Word – Jesus Christ Himself.

  3. Their Deceitfulness (v 20)
    Their deceitfulness is to turn thing around. They forget what God said in Prov. 17:15: “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”
    We must get out armour on and not allow them to convince us that evil is good, darkness is light, and bitterness is sweet.

  4. Their Delusion (v 21)
    They are deluded thinking that they are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight.

  5. Their Debauchery (v 22)
    They are heroes at drinking wine, valiant men in mixing strong drink. Debauchery makes you look grotesque and is warned against in Prov. 20:1. Alcohol is a very bad thing – if you can stay away from it, it’s better to do without it.

  6. Their Dirtiness (v 23a)
    They acquit the guilty for a bribe. See Isaiah 1:23, Amos 5:12.

  7. Their Deprivations (v 23b)
    The act of depriving someone from their food and work opportunities. Affirmative Action is wrong. We are here to look after everyone.

  8. Their Demise
    The Lord says that He will destroy them (Prov. 10:29, Mat. 7:23).

The council of the Holy One of Israel is the Lord Jesus Christ Whom they scorned and will pay for it. Don’t participate in their depravity. Run to the cross to be saved from your sin.