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  • Joe Norton

Danger of Impaired Judgement (3/31/2024)

A Study of the Woes of Isaiah 5


“Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,

Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

Who justify the wicked for a bribe,

And take away justice from the righteous man!” (Isaiah 5:22-23).

In view of the teaching against partaking of intoxicating drink in verse 11, this passage, at first, seems repetitious. But a closer examination reveals Isaiah is speaking about different aspects of alcohol: rather than condemning alcohol because it wastes individuals, he condemns it because of the corrupting influence it has, especially on those in authority.

Known for their ability to consume large quantities of alcohol and remain on their feet, the men in this passage go about their jobs and make decisions as if they are in full control of their faculties—however, their judgement is impaired.

Those in this category commit sins and injustices they would not normally do when they are thinking clearly. They are open to bribery (as in allowing a wicked man to go free) as well as to making decisions that cause a “righteous man” not to receive justice—so, good people are condemned unjustly.

Clear thinking and wise judgements are commanded for all who claim to be or who want to be close to God. The message for us, then, is that we should never become involved in anything that would interfere with our ability to think clearly, make sound decisions, or remain in a working relationship with God—our eternity depends on it.


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