Sunday, 21 November 1999 00:00

Woe To Them Who...

Jude 11 (KJV)

Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gain-saying of Core.

The word "woe" is a very strong word in the Bible. It means "a condemnation or a curse." When Isaiah saw the Lord he said, "Woe to me" (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah condemned himself. "Woe" is used in Revelation as a curse on the inhabitants of the earth under the judgment of God (Rev. 8:13). Jesus said unto the religious leaders, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees" (Matt. 24:13). Jude uses the word "woe" in much the same manner. He reminds us that God judged the angels of heaven, the people of Sodom and the children of Israel. God is gracious, but He will also judge those who are not His children. Everywhere you look in the book of Jude you are called to examine yourself. Has God moved in your life? Is He truly your Lord and Savior?

  1. Woe to them who possess spiritual pride... "they have gone the way of Cain"
    Do you remember Cain's story? God instructed Cain and Abel that they were to come before Him with the shed blood of an innocent lamb. Abel obeyed and brought the blood to God, but Cain decided he would come his own way, on his own terms—by the fruit of his hands.
    1. Cain refused to hear God's Word...
      It is not that Cain was an "evil" man. On the contrary, Cain was a hard worker, a diligent farmer, and even very religious. Cain just refused to listen to God! That is the way it is with a great many people today. There is an outright refusal to listen and obey God.
    2. Cain refused to see it God's way...
      Even Christians have those periods when they refuse to obey God, but what brought a woe upon Cain was his inability to admit he was wrong and seek forgiveness for it.
  2. Woe to them who covet material possessions... "ran greedily after the error of Balaam"
    Balaam's story is found in Numbers 22. Balaam was hired by the Moabites to bring down a curse upon the people of Israel. Balaam was told by God not to do this (22:12), but when the princes of Moab offered Balaam "riches" to get him to do it, Balaam sought the Lord again, to see if His mind would change. "The anger of the Lord was kindled against him" (22:22), because Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (II Peter 2:15).
    1. The love of money is the root of all evil... (I Timothy 6:10).
      It is not money that is the root of all evil, and it is not money that is evil! It is your love for money that will lead you into all kinds of evil. This is the error of Balaam for profit.
    2. The love of money is a sign of an evil heart... if you read Balaam's story you come away thinking, "This is a good guy! He's got it all together!" Unfortunately, just this one flaw in his character was enough to bring upon Balaam a woe (Revelation 2:14).
  3. Woe to them who resist divine providence... "and perished in the gainsaying of Korah."
    Korah's story is found in Numbers 16. Korah did not like the fact that Moses and Aaron were put in charge. He rebelled against their authority and God's providence. The same can be said of those without the grace of God. They will resist God's providence over them. One of the great signs of grace is contentment, regardless of your circumstances. Are you restless this morning? Do you feel bitterness at your lot in life? Are you looking to others with envy and jealousy? Only Jesus Christ can give you a heart of peace and contentment.

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