Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Woe is Me!

So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5 NKJV)

It is Easy to See the Faults of Others

Isaiah, the Gospel prophet, started out criticizing others in this book of his prophecies.  Eight times in the first five chapters he pronounces woes (or coming sorrows) on those in Israel who are obviously acting a lot like people act today.

  1. The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. (Isaiah 3:9 NKJV)

  2. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him. (Isaiah 3:11 NKJV)

  3. Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! (Isaiah 5:8 NKJV)

  4. Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! (Isaiah 5:11 NKJV)

  5. Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; (Isaiah 5:18 NKJV)

  6. 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! (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV)

  7. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21 NKJV)

  8. Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, (Isaiah 5:22 NKJV)

The Effect of a Vision of the Lord

I don’t know just when Isaiah “got saved” in the New Testament sense, but it seems to be in Chapter 6 when he got a vision of the Lord.  Now his own sin becomes personal; and, in the passage, he is cleansed by a live coal from off the altar (a picture of the living word of God as it describes the Lord’s crucifixion).  Isaiah is then commissioned to do a job that will be considered a failure, since he is told that his audience is not going to listen to him.

There is nothing like getting a vision of the Lord to convict us of our own sin.  I notice that in subsequent chapters Isaiah continues to pronounce woes, that is, he continues to pronounce warnings to those who have rejected the Lord; but now his warnings make more sense to me since he has been convicted and cleansed himself.  In other words, it takes someone who has been saved to properly tell others that they need to be saved.  I am using New Testament language.

Do We Sound the Warning Woes today?

The Gospel is good news to the one who understands their own sin and how it separates us from God.  We call this conviction.  I am glad for those who have been convicted of their own unholiness so that they can compassionately warn others of the consequence of not listening to the good news of the Gospel.

Maybe we who preach the Gospel need a fresh vision of the Lord like that which Isaiah saw.  He says, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’” (Isaiah 6:1-3 NKJV).

Maybe then our preaching would be with compassion and power rather than simply being judgmental.  

One More Woe!

The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16), “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16 NKJV)

If we had the cure for cancer, I am sure we would want to share that good news with those dying from the disease.  We who are saved have a cure for the consequences of sin.  Woe unto us if we do not preach it.  

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the weeks of April 28 and May 5, 2024

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