- “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18 – NKJV)
Yes Father, “open my eyes that I may see” Your written Word, that I might attain wisdom and understanding.
Note Jesus’s words from Matthew, chapter 23,
- “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you blind guides . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” (Matthew 23:13-16, 23, 25, 27, 29 – NKJV)
Just what does “woe” mean? Our Lord uses the word quite often, and you can probably tell from Matthew 23 that it is not a word used by Him for glad tidings.
We must not get this word mixed up with the English word, “Whoa.” This word is frequently heard if one reads any books about the old west or watches a cowboy movie. Whenever a cowboy wanted his horse to stop or a stagecoach driver wanted his team of horses to come to a stop, they would yell out, “Whoa.”
The word that Jesus uses, “woe,” does not mean to “stop.” It is the Greek word, ouai and it means, “a primary exclamation of grief” (Stongs). Zodhiates writes of this word, “of denouncing misery and pitying it; alas!”
Dr. John MacArthur writes,
- “But Jesus used woe against the scribes and Pharisees not as an exclamation but as a declaration, a divine pronouncement of judgment from God. He did not use the term in the sense of the profane phrase ‘Damn you!’ He was not wishing for the damnation of those false leaders but certifying it. As already noted, it was not His desire that they be condemned but rather that they repent and come to salvation. But He knew that if they did not repent and believe they were doomed to hell under God’s righteous and just wrath. When God utters woe against evil men He sets divine judgment in motion.”
So “woe” is a most serious word and one to pay special attention to, both in the Old Testament and the New (note Isaiah 5). And when we see it used in the Scriptures we should be careful not to just pass over it or treat it lightly, especially in reading what follows the usage of the word.
- Note that in our Scripture references Jesus has a common description of those He is proclaiming “woe” to . . . they are “hypocrites.”
“Our Father, help us never to be found as “hypocrites,” as actors, as those who seek to outwardly appear as religious, or pious, or godly, and yet are found by You to be doing this for all the wrong reasons, having a heart that is far from You . . . and we would hear You say to us, “Woe to you . . .”
Have a good day brethren . . . and as you walk examine your steps and examine your heart, that they are in line with God’s Word, with God’s will. Woe that the Lord should find the two are not in agreement. That is the condition that plagued the scribes and the Pharisees.
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