Episode 241: A curious thing is happening in America. Have you noticed? Have you noticed how a crucifix is an object to be taken down for it is offensive while a homosexual man can parade down Main Street wearing nothing but thong underwear and it is deemed acceptable? Have you noticed how it is demanded that the Ten Commandments be removed from courthouses since they are archaic and draconian while the latest celebrity pop star continues their self-destructive behavior toward an early demise with his or her latest shocking display of immoral behavior? Have you noticed how teacher-led prayer is banned from schools but a teacher can access pornography on his work computer and he keeps his job? In fact, convicted pedophiles have never had it so easy; one man who raped a teenage girl (she eventually took her own life) was given 30 days in jail!
While the temptation is to think this present situation is unique to America, the reality is this has happened in the past all over the world. It happened in Greece. It happened in Rome. It happened in England. Frankly, it continues all over Europe. And it happened a long time ago in Israel, among the people of God. When it happened then, God spoke and said, “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!” (Isaiah 5:20, ESV) There is no blessing attached to what is happening to our nation, only a curse. It is a sad day when morality is so distorted that right is wrong and wrong and right. Terrible is the day when the distinctions between right and wrong are so confounded that light is said to be darkness and darkness is said to be light. Cursed is the day when the bitterness of sin is said to be sweet while the sweetness of the word of God is said to be wormwood.
The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” I gave several examples of how this shows up practically in America. Now consider another way in which it shows up. Look at the sports and entertainment industries. Tim Tebow is a menace with his public display of prayer and was essentially run out of the NFL but Jason Collins (the first openly gay player in major sports) and Michael Sam (who recently came out and will be drafted into the NFL next month) are heroes. Sadie Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) and her Christian faith stands juxtaposed with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber whose lives have taken self-destructive turns. In each of these cases, the world lionizes the athletes or superstars who engage in immorality while disparaging the individuals who pursue of Biblical ethic.
There was somewhat of a proverb in Israel in the days of Malachi the prophet. , “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them” (2.17). These words “wearied” God. It seems this proverb has been revived in America. God looks favorably on you if you approve of immorality and “don’t judge.” The world has it all mixed up. Somehow God delights in you if you are open-minded and accepting of things He has clearly and categorically said are sin. In fact, this kind of specious reasoning wearies God. Frankly, He is tired of it. Especially among Christians. It is one thing for the world to have a mixed up idea of what is good and acceptable; they’ve rejected the wisdom of God. But when God’s own people do this, as in the days of Malachi, it is most unsettling and disturbing.
August of last year. District Judge G. Todd Baugh handed down a sentence of 30 days in jail to former high school teacher Stacey Rambold. Rambold’s crime? He raped a then-14 year old student who, when the criminal case went public, committed suicide just before her 17th birthday. The judge tried to justify his sentence, saying the girl had equal control of the situation and was “older than her chronological age.” It was a bitter pill to swallow for the young lady’s family and sparked outrage and protests in Billings, MT where the case was located. A bitter pill, and rightly so. The prophet Amos says, “O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth!” (5:7, ESV) Wormwood is a bitter root which leaves a sour taste in the mouth and can be poisonous. Kind of like injustice. In fact, just verses later, Amos says the people have “turned justice into poison” (6.12). Failure to uphold justice and righteousness is a poison which will kill a society.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever walk the planet until Jesus came, said, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 17:15). He goes on: “It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice” (Proverbs 18:5). When justice is not done, evildoers rejoice (cf. Proverbs 21.15). “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). It should be plain with sentences like that mentioned above, the tip of the iceberg in which justice was not properly administered, that the American justice system is void of the wisdom of God. It was not always that way. John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, once wrote, “In forming and settling my belief relative to the doctrines of Christianity, I adopted no articles from creeds but such only as, on careful examination, I found to be confirmed by the Bible.” How the mighty have fallen!
No nation has ever done what America is currently doing and lived to tell about it. The perennial pursuit for amusement and entertainment regardless of how base or depraved it may be; the increase of homosexual behavior and its acceptability as just another alternative lifestyle; the relentless termination of innocent human life through the savagery of abortion; the legalization of the gateway drug marijuana; the continued castigation and censuring of Christian moral values – all of these and many others are the telltale signs of a nation heading toward the brink of ruin if not already there.
The Christian response to all the darkness of culture and society are encapsulated in a phrase from Jesus: “Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness” (Luke 11:35, ESV). People practicing wickedness love darkness and hate the light (John 3.19-20). It will always be this way. So those who follow Christ must pursue truth and seek purity in their lives. God says, “Woe to those who…put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5.20). This should never characterize the Christian. No wonder Jesus says, “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6.23) Claiming to be light but practicing darkness is the height of hypocrisy. So “live as children of light” (Ephesians 5.8, NIV). Be vigilant against the onslaught of the evil one and engage in what is good, right, and true.
Our purpose is to discern and determine the actions and attitudes which are pleasing to God (cf. Ephesians 5.10). We are to pursue fellowship with God, Who is light, and not fellowship with “the unfruitful works of darkness” (verse 11). In fact, we expose the works of darkness for what they are by shining forth the light of God’s word. We hold them up to Christ, the Light of the world, and compare to determine whether they are evil to be shunned or good we must hold fast.