The Book of Isaiah
James J. Barker

Lesson 25

Text: ISAIAH 28:1-13


1.     My message tonight is entitled, “Pride & Drunkenness” (28:1, 3).  Not “Pride and Prejudice” (Jane Austen).

2.     Isaiah chapter 28 is a prophecy given during the reign of King Hezekiah concerning the fall of Ephraim (the northern kingdom).

3.     Ephraim was the second son of Joseph.  The tribe of Ephraim was the strongest of the ten tribes in the northern kingdom of Israel, and often in the OT the names Ephraim and Israel are used interchangeably.

4.     Isaiah predicted the Assyrian invasion and captivity of Israel.   This section (Isa. 28—33) contains prophecies which were both soon to be fulfilled (such as the Assyrian invasion in 721 BC), and prophecies which will not be fulfilled until the tribulation period and the second coming of Christ (cf. 28:5).

5.     These prophecies could soon be fulfilled.   Watch for the signs: wars and rumors of wars, one-world religion, one-world government, rampant immorality including homosexuality and even bestiality (movie Zoo shown recently at the Cannes Film Festival in France).

6.     These chapters also deal with a warning for backsliding Judah.  They were guilty of the same sins as their northern neighbor Ephraim.

7.     Note the word “also” in Isaiah 28:7 (cf. 28:14).  The Lord was warning Judah that unless they repented they too would be judged.  But they too would not listen and soon they were invaded by the Chaldeans.  The temple was destroyed and they went into captivity.

8.     Isaiah also warned about relying on Egypt rather than God (30:1-3). 

9.     As we study and apply these Scriptures, we find that there are many warnings for us as well.







1.    We are hearing much about the dangers of tobacco (and that is good), but we hear very little about the dangers of booze (cf. Isaiah 5:11, 22).

2.    It was a blessing to hear that brother’s testimony on Wednesday night.  He was drinking a case of beer a day and was arrested seven times for drunk driving, and wound up doing three years in prison.

3.    But he got saved in prison and now he is preaching the Gospel.

4.    Drinking is a wicked sin and it resulted in God punishing Israel with captivity (Isa. 28:2, 3; cf. 5:11-13).

5.    According to the Bible, drinking is such a serious sin that those who indulge in it are thrown into hell (Isa. 5:11-14; I Cor. 6:9, 10).

6.    Some people are so enslaved to alcohol that they even “rise up early in the morning” to start drinking (Isa. 5:11; cf. Prov. 23:29-35).

7.    Then they proceed to drink all day, to “continue until night, till wine inflame them!” (Isa. 5:11).

8.    Please note that word “inflame.”  Wine inflames the drunkard, and burns away his brain cells, and burns away his good manners, and burns way his morals and his health and his decency and his ambition, till he is nothing but a burnt-out wreck, to be discarded into hell like a bag of rubbish (5:14).

9.    Some people do not like it when preachers preach hard against drinking.  One day I was preaching in a different church and a man came up to me after the meeting and said, “You preach too hard against booze.”  I told him, “That’s like saying I preach too hard against the devil!”

10. Preach too hard against drinking?  Is that so?  Tell that to the mother who had her little child run over and killed by a drunk driver! 

11. Tell that to a wife who has been beaten by a drunken husband, who spends his paycheck on booze, who hangs around the tavern every night like a bum!

12. It is a bad testimony for a Christian to drink.   It is especially reprehensible to see so-called “clergymen” drinking (Isa. 28:7). “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Pro. 20:1).

13. I heard a preacher say he was on an airplane one time and seated next to him was a drunken liberal minister.   On several occasions I have seen RC priests stumble around drunk.

14. Drinking always causes those drinking to err (Isa. 28:7, 8).  It inevitably leads to “filthiness” (28:8).

15. They say that in our nation’s capital there are three parties: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the cocktail party.  No wonder these politicians pass such bad legislation.  They’re a bunch of drunks!  Drinking leads to errors in judgment (Isa. 28:7).



1.     HA Ironside said, “Drunkenness, in Scripture, is often used to illustrate or represent the effects of spiritual intoxication brought about by refusing obedience to the Word of the Lord and giving heed to false teaching” (Isaiah).

2.     We see this very vividly in Revelation 17:2 and 18:3.

3.     Samaria was built on a high hill bordered by a “fat (fertile) valley” (Isa. 28:1).  The term “fat valleys” also suggests the Israelites were getting fat, drunk and immoral.   They revelled in luxury, drunkenness, and licentiousness.

4.     Immorality and debauchery always go hand in hand with drunkenness (cf. Hosea 4:11; Hab. 2:15, 16).

5.     Bible scholars tell us that the Israelites wore pretty floral wreaths at their drunken orgies.  But soon these pretty flowers would be trodden underfoot by the invading Assyrians (Isa. 28:1-4).

6.     This spiritual stupor has continued all the way up to the present day.  The Jews are still spiritually blind, and will remain this way until they repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

7.     This is a judicial blindness.   Paul, quoting Isaiah 29:10, says in Romans 11:8 tells us that in Rom. 11:8.

8.     “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day” (Rom. 11:8).

9.     But there is coming a day when Israel will repent and they will turn to Christ and be saved (cf. Rom. 11:26; Zech. 12:10; 13:1).

10. Then, “in that day” (Isa. 28:5), i.e., the day of the LORD, Israel will be restored. The crown of pride will be replaced with a “crown of glory” (28:5), referring to our Lord’s glorious rule when He returns.



1.     We saw this back in Isaiah 5:12.  Drinkers “regard not the work of the Lord” (5:12). They only care about worldly pleasures.

2.     Since the Israelites would not listen to the Word of God, the Lord spoke to them in judgment (Isa. 28:11).   The Lord sent the Assyrians, a nation that spoke a foreign language.

3.     The apostle Paul quotes this Scripture in I Corinthians 14:21, 22 where he says, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not…”

4.     The people of Israel and Judah did not believe God so He allowed the Assyrians and later on the Chaldeans to take them away into captivity.

5.     Paul applied this warning to the Jews of his day.  They too would be judged for their unbelief, and they were judged for their unbelief.



1.     What is wonderful and “refreshing” (Isa. 28:12) about the Gospel is even little children can understand it – even “them that are weaned from the milk” (Isa. 28:9).

2.     We are to teach God’s Word – “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (28:10), knowing people will believe the Word of God.

3.     But the proud will not believe.  Not because it is obscure or difficult to understand.  John 3:16 is not obscure or difficult to understand.

4.     John 5:24 is not obscure or difficult.  I asked a RC about John 5:24.  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  He said he believes what his church teaches about that verse.

5.     Salvation is believing in Christ, not in a church or a pope.

6.     Proud sinners have chosen not to believe the Word of God.  Remember, in I Corinthians 14:21, Paul quotes this Scripture – “and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the LORD.”

7.     Therefore they will “fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (28:13).

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