Fellow blogger and pastor, Chris Brauns had a great link posted at his blog "A Brick in the Valley". The link was from writer, editorialist and speaker Cal Thomas. We had heard him speak at a recent Ligonier Conference, and he is well known for his direct style and Christian commitment. The article was entitled "Is the Decline Speeding Up?". Read the entire post here. Cal was not only pointing out the general decline in moral standards, but also pointing to the fact that it may not be long before our Lord returns.
Later in the day, I entered into a discussion on Facebook with another friend in England who had been watching the 60th anniversary ceremony of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. She remarked how all the government officials had prayed heartily for the Queen and asked God's continued blessings on her while later that same day the parliament was seeking to pass laws to overturn God's revealed Word to the people. Ironic isn't it? Yet, the same is true in many countries around the world including our own.
On one hand, leaders call upon God to bless them and on the other hand, they pass legislation which undermines the moral principles which God has established. However this should not be a surprise. As Solomon wisely wrote: "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9c).
During the days of Isaiah the Prophet, the people of God had once again left their worship of the Lord. The Reformation Study Bible puts it this way: "God's people had become like the nations in their pride, sarcasm, and selfishness. They had lost the vision of God's kingdom of righteousness, love and peace and had tried to establish their own kingdom" (pg. 949). These were God's chosen people who had turned away from all the God had revealed to them. Their day is not much different from our day. Isaiah writes: "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!" (Isaiah 5:20-23). Quite a description not only of the people in Isaiah's day (740 BC to roughly 701 BC and after) but also of today's worldly outlook.
In all, if we read the entire chapter, we will see that Isaiah pronounces a total of six woes. The first woe condemns greed (vs. 8-9) and self indulgence. Verses 11-12 deal with the matter of drunkenness. The third woe deals with those who mock God with falsehood (vs. 18-19). Then, in verse 20 Isaiah pronounces the woe of moral corruption followed by the woe of pride and self-righteousness seen in verse 21. Finally, the sixth woe comes in verse 22 when the prophet condemns those who pervert justice. I think we can all see how not much has changed from age to age.
Of course, the root of the problem is in the resident evil that lies within the soul of fallen man. Isaiah says it well in chapter 53:6: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned - everyone - to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Not one of us came into this world with a pure heart. We each inherited the fallen nature of Adam and only when the Holy Spirit regenerates us and opens our eyes can we come to Jesus Christ in repentance. Even after that great awakening and transformation, we still can stumble and fall. However, unlike the man who has never come to Christ, we have the ability to repent, be forgiven and restored to a right relationship to God. This is where we see the great divide. With our eyes now opened by the grace of God and the blood of Christ, we can see good and evil in clear distinction. I believe this is why we are horrified over some of the decisions made by government leaders concerning abortion, homosexuality, and the free expression of our faith as versus political correctness. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised at what we see around us.
I do believe the decline we are seeing around the world is speeding up. We do not know when the Lord will sound the trumpet and return to this earth. Yet our hope is in Him and His promises for us. One day there will be no more tears, no more grief, no more injustice and no more death. For now, we must encourage one another and all the more as we see the day of our Lord approaching. Likewise, we must be busy about the Father's work of telling others the Good News and demonstrating it by our lives. No one said it would be an easy path to walk, but it is the ONLY way to salvation. The best part of the news is that Jesus Christ has already won the victory for us. No matter what this world or its leaders do, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. On that we can depend. We must remember the words of King David in Psalm 37:1-5: "Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as noonday." If we read the entire Psalm, we will find comfort as we dwell in a world system filled with those who call good evil and evil good. Let us live each day as though He will arrive tomorrow! Selah!
I always welcome your thoughts and insights. Feel free to leave a comment.