The Subtle Danger of Substitutes
In Isaiah chapter 5 God is pronouncing judgment on the nation of Judah. God uses the metaphor of the vineyard to make His case. He tells them that He had prepared and planted a good vineyard but it had turned into something else. It did not produce good grapes but instead the vineyard produced wild grapes. In the midst of this pronounced judgment God says this in vs 20: “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!
As I was reading this I thought about the word “substitutes”. God’s people were substituting evil for what was truly good. They were substituting darkness for light and bitter for sweet. They wanted “good” and “light” and “sweet” but they were not willing to obey God to achieve these results. Rather, they turned against God and substituted things and actions of their own. We all have God-given desires for “good” and “light” and “sweet” but only God can truly give us the things that fill these needs. In our world today there are many examples. Pornography is a subtle substitute for something that God intended to be for our good. Materialism is a substitute for the true enjoyment of the material blessings of God. Even pride is a substitute for God-given satisfaction and self-worth.
Our world is full of substitutes but they ultimately do not satisfy and sometimes they can be extremely harmful and dangerous. If you are looking to something in your life to fill the God given needs and desires, look to God. Only He can fill them and He can and will fill them His way. Take a minute and ask yourself, “Am I substituting evil for good or darkness for light or bitter for sweet?” If so, today is the day to change. Don’t substitute the things of this world for the things of God.