We are a people who have defied the notion of truth. Right and Wrong? Subjective and malleable. On one hand it’s good to appreciate nuance and differences and diversity and grey areas, but on the other hand we are killing ourselves when we throw away our plumb-lines; abolish our benchmarks; trample on our long-held standards.
We believe we are evolved and enlightened, and this is why we have the privilege of complete self-governance. But as I look around, I see a world where evil is raging, and people are more divided than ever.
As I was reading this morning, I came across something that sounded like it was written about our modern era, but this was written nearly 3000 years ago. There is something to be said for the timeless nature of scripture, see for yourself;
Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on a righteousness as a breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
According to what they have done, so he will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. From the west, men will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.
The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins” declares the Lord.
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth or the mouths of your children or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.
Isaiah 59: 12-21 (emphasis mine)
Do you see that? As dark as the times feel right now, with hate, violence, and evil running rampant, we are not in a novel scenario. This has happened through the ages, that people turn away from their Father and go their own way. The rebellion against God comes from a place of self-destructive autonomy. Like 3 year olds who want to ride our bikes on the freeway because we are sure we can stay out of the path of 70 MPH cars, we put ourselves into danger when we insist on doing things our own way.
Did you catch the part about “whoever shuns evil becomes a prey”? If you hold fast to what God has decreed to be the best plan for human flourishing, you will “become a prey.” This could be verbal slander, social ostracism, or like some of our peace-loving, Jesus-following brothers and sisters around the world, you may end up giving your very life as a martyr. Evil does not tolerate truth, peace, and righteousness.
So what do we do then? It seems so dark, people are being shot down, our sons and daughters are being subjected to social experiments that adults enact to satisfy their own lust for malignant autonomy, we carry on living life inside a bubble where we literally ignore the death-screams of the marginalized and suffering around the globe.
Is God okay with this? Is he fine with us doing whatever we want and turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the injustice and trampling of all that’s good and true on this earth He created?
He promises that He will come and that He will bring wrath and vengeance. That doesn’t sound very appealing if you find yourself at odds with Him. But He also promises what he will bring to those who “repent of their sins”.
“The Redeemer will come to Zion.” Redemption. We are bought back from the Kingdom of Darkness we find ourselves in. We know how this ends. Jesus came and died and rose again , giving us a passageway out of the dark, bloodthirsty, evil-raging, death-worshiping, despair-inducing world that we were once held captive by. What a glorious redemption!
This is not just for a select group of people. It’s merely for the religious; it’s not just for the American; it’s not only for the wealthy; it’s not solely for the morally upright; it’s for ALL people. What on earth would prevent you from taking God up on His offer?
These times are sad and scary. But we don’t have to live in despair, fear, and hopelessness. We serve the God who has already ordained the ending. Where there will be no bullets, no death, no children being discarded or abused, no minorities or oppressed people groups, only image bearers of God dearly loved by him, completely unified around our status as Sons and Daughters of God.
It’s Hope. Take hold of it today. God loves you and He’s sent his son Jesus to prove it. Choose the path of peace and hope.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Life up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy:
The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Isaiah 60: 1-5; 20 (emphasis mine)