This idea is borrowed by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. He said it in regard to the resurrection. If there is no resurrection, then we might as well throw everything to the wind and have at it. Paul’s comments preceded the beer commercial “You only go around once, grab for all the gusto you can.” by many years but the sentiment is the same. This is it…live it up. If…
The problem with this philosophy is that we actually get two lives not one. The second one is filled with promises of everything we don’t get here. Why miss that for a little eating and drinking and fun? The problem with thus philosophy is, it’s wrong. It’s the if part that’s wrong. There is no if. This isn’t the end and you don’t have to cram an eternity into 80 or 90 years. There is a resurrection from the dead and there is life after death and for that reason the short season of our earthly lives should be spent in readiness for the real celebration of life eternal not in a faux celebration of a brief life on this dying planet.
Back in Isaiah’s time Israel had not been paying much attention to what God was telling them. Sounds like a familiar tune, I know. God was disappointed in their behavior and he ordered repentance and a change in attitude (much like today, right?). Chapter 22:12 “The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.” (How about this, “The Lord is not slack about his promises, desiring that everyone repent of their sinful life, and all come to salvation.”)
And what did the people do? What they are still doing thousands of years later. They evidently reasoned that they were beyond hope, that God was going to destroy them for their sin and so there wasn’t much point in weeping and wailing over their transgressions. Instead of pulling their hair and putting on mourning clothes they threw a party. They might just as well have said, “You only go around once, grab for all the gusto you can.” There’s no tomorrow in their thinking at all. Like Esau of long ago, they traded a birthright for a little refreshment.
So many do that today. Drugs, alcohol, sex, lives lived out in pleasure and ended in grief in exchange for the abundant life. Like the Israelites of Isaiah’s day they sought joy and revelry rather than sackcloth. God found them not repenting and remorseful but eating of meat and drinking of wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” was their answer to God’s call for change.
God offers so much more. Jesus, his son, came to provide an abundant life on the earth and more in the life to come. Those people rejected God for their own brand of porridge: The treasures of heaven, life eternal, heavenly bliss, given up for a little food and wine, a little song and dance. God wasn’t upset about the eating of meat or the drinking of wine, he provided those to men. God did not mind joy and revelry in the right circumstances. In fact Paul continually encourages Christians to rejoice and to have joy.
It’s what they chose. They chose those things instead of the blessings of God. They chose to increase their sin instead of repenting. Look around you. You will see a lot of that going on. Its a gusto not grace theology. But because there is a resurrection of the dead and a judgment to follow, the eat, drink, die philosophy is a poor choice. I end the blog with what God had to say to these folks who wanted a good time more than a good God. You might want to consider it for your own life.
“Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.