“Therefore Shoel has enlarged itself
And opened its mouth beyond measure;
Their glory and their multitude and pomp,
And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.”
Sheol is an Old Testament word for the abode of the wicked in death. The New Testament uses the words “Hades,” “Tartarus,” and “Gehenna.” Although different words are employed, they all refer to the final resting place for those who reject Christ, and as a result die in their sins. Isaiah gives a sobering picture when he writes, “Sheol has enlarged itself…” Suggesting that the boundaries of hell are expanding because of the unwillingness of people to respond to the call of God and the cries of the prophet. There are a few things we need to keep in mind.
First, hell is expanding because people are refusing to turn to the only one who can rescue them from its eternal flames. At the same time, sin was running rampant and people were choosing to live as though there are no consequences for their choices or behaviors, Isaiah and others were boldly and faithfully calling people to come to God. Today things are much like they were in Isaiah’s day. People are calling evil good and good evil. People are receiving awards and national recognition for self-seeking, destructive choices, while those who stand for righteousness are being carted off to jail. They are warned to reconsider their stand against what is clearly forbidden in Scripture. Those who refuse to respond to the call of the Gospel of Christ, will ultimately stand before God and receive just compensation for a life ruled by self. It does not have to end this way. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Past failures and present acts do not keep a person from eternal life. If you are willing to receive Christ, you will be pardoned, rescued, set free and given the free gift of salvation.
Second, hell is expanding because it was never God’s intention for anyone to end up there. Hell was created for Satan, as a place to keep him eternally imprisoned, as retribution for his sin against God and man. Heaven was designed for mankind. Jesus declared that His Father’s house is filled with rooms and He was going to prepare them for us (John 14:2). The work of the cross is like a doorway into eternal life, for all who will walk through it. For a person to end up in hell they must refuse the inner work of the Spirit, the constant opportunities to come to Christ, the pleadings of their friends and family, and the very work the church was left on the earth to accomplish.
Don’t let Sheol expand its borders any farther. If you have not given your life to Christ, do so right now. Pray something like this,
“God, thank you for the cross where Jesus died for me. I ask you to forgive me of my sin and accept me as your child. Help me to leave my sinful ways and begin to follow you. In Jesus name…