Isaiah 5 & Hebrews 12

Isaiah 5

    Let me sing for my beloved
        my love song concerning his vineyard:
    My beloved had a vineyard
        on a very fertile hill.
    He dug it and cleared it of stones,
        and planted it with choice vines;
    he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
        and hewed out a wine vat in it;
    and he looked for it to yield grapes,
        but it yielded wild grapes.
    And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
        and men of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard.
    What more was there to do for my vineyard,
        that I have not done in it?
    When I looked for it to yield grapes,
        why did it yield wild grapes?
    And now I will tell you
        what I will do to my vineyard.
    I will remove its hedge,
        and it shall be devoured;
    I will break down its wall,
        and it shall be trampled down.
    I will make it a waste;
        it shall not be pruned or hoed,
        and briers and thorns shall grow up;
    I will also command the clouds
        that they rain no rain upon it.
    For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
        is the house of Israel,
    and the men of Judah
        are his pleasant planting;
    and he looked for justice,
        but behold, bloodshed;
    for righteousness,
        but behold, an outcry!
        Woe to those who join house to house,
        who add field to field,
    until there is no more room,
        and you are made to dwell alone
        in the midst of the land.
    The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
    “Surely many houses shall be desolate,
        large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
    For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
        and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”
    Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
        that they may run after strong drink,
    who tarry late into the evening
        as wine inflames them!
    They have lyre and harp,
        tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
    but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD,
        or see the work of his hands.
    Therefore my people go into exile
        for lack of knowledge;
    their honored men go hungry,
        and their multitude is parched with thirst.
    Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
        and opened its mouth beyond measure,
    and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down,
        her revelers and he who exults in her.
    Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
        and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
    But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice,
        and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
    Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture,
        and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.
    Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
        who draw sin as with cart ropes,
    who say: “Let him be quick,
        let him speed his work
        that we may see it;
    let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
        and let it come, that we may know it!”
    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!
    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
        and shrewd in their own sight!
    Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
        and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
    who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
        and deprive the innocent of his right!
    Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
        and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
    so their root will be as rottenness,
        and their blossom go up like dust;
    for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
        and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
    Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
        and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
        and the mountains quaked;
    and their corpses were as refuse
        in the midst of the streets.
    For all this his anger has not turned away,
        and his hand is stretched out still.
    He will raise a signal for nations far away,
        and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
    and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
    None is weary, none stumbles,
        none slumbers or sleeps,
    not a waistband is loose,
        not a sandal strap broken;
    their arrows are sharp,
        all their bows bent,
    their horses' hoofs seem like flint,
        and their wheels like the whirlwind.
    Their roaring is like a lion,
        like young lions they roar;
    they growl and seize their prey;
        they carry it off, and none can rescue.
    They will growl over it on that day,
        like the growling of the sea.
    And if one looks to the land,
        behold, darkness and distress;
    and the light is darkened by its clouds.

(Isaiah 5 ESV)

Hebrews 12

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

    “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
        nor be weary when reproved by him.
    For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
        and chastises every son whom he receives.”
        It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

    For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

    See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

(Hebrews 12 ESV)

Hebrews 12: In order to endure the 'race' of the Christian life, we must get rid of the things that hinder or distracts us from staying on track. Perhaps our starting line ought to be that particular sin that is most habitual in our life. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us would have to admit that there is a specific sin that we struggle with more frequently and intensely than others. We must identify it and seek the Spirit's strength to get rid of it, or it will continue to plague us and push us of course.

If we feel as if we're beginning to fade in the race, we must consider those who have ran victoriously before us and ultimately look to our Lord who suffered infinitely more than we are even capable of suffering. Suffering is not a sign that we should give up and run an easier race. It is suffering that trains us and disciplines us to run in a way that glorifies our Lord. As painful and terribly difficult as it may be, we must remember that all suffering is an opportunity to endure in faith and glorify our God who works for the greater incomprehensible good of all His children.