“You shall conceive chaff, you shall bring forth stubble; your breath, as fire, shall devour you.” (Is. 33:1)
Isaiah says that when the judgment of God comes, sometimes it comes in the form of self-destruction. In Romans, Paul says the same thing when he writes that God sometimes gives people over to their unclean passions. In Proverbs, Solomon likewise says that the man who is seduced by the mouth of an immoral woman is already abhorred by God. Frequently, it is thought that you ought not to sin because then God’s judgment may fall, but oftentimes we do not realize that the sin itself is the judgment of God. Isaiah also particularly focuses on the mouth of sinners, breathing a self-devouring fire. Perverse words, critical, biting words, angry words are not harmless, are not without effect. Proverbs says that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that we eat what we say. Words have the power to crush, to ruin, to destroy both those within range and always at the very least the speaker.
And so the question is what are you pregnant with? Are you carrying life inside you? Are you feeding and nurturing new life within your soul? Or are you conceiving chaff? Are you in labor with stubble, are you kindling a great fire? Some of you are silently full of fire, full of anger, bitterness, fear. Others of you may be like a broken power line, seething and spitting fire at your wife or husband or children. Some of you may be nurturing other little sins, thinking that you are safe, thinking that they are not so big, not so destructive. But this is like being a little bit pregnant. Sin never stays small, sin never stays secret. It always comes to birth; it always comes to light.
But you need to know that there is no sin big or small that is outside the reach of God’s grace. God’s grace is a fire extinguisher able to put out every fire.