Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Today’s Topic: Rich Yet So Very Poor
Today’s Text: You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. So man will be brought low and mankind humbled—do not forgive them. (Isaiah 2:6-9)
This morning I got ready for work the way I always do. After doing some computer work and checking up on all my friends on Facebook, I made coffee and ate breakfast. Of course I also showered and got dressed, for those of you who need more details. As I put on the special Avon men’s after shave cream I use to keep my skin moist and young looking, I looked in the mirror. After getting over the initial shock, which takes a lot less time now because I’m getting so used to what I see, I checked my face carefully for any signs of aging or skin issues like moles. You’ll be happy to know that I look younger today, and there’s nothing wrong with my face. Let the debate begin…
The Book of Isaiah is like a mirror. The first five chapters are a reflection of what society looks like when God is removed from culture. If we look into it closely, we can see the spiritual age spots, moles, and signs of cancer that develop when people don’t take care of their souls.
As Isaiah looks into the cultural mirror of ancient Israel, he sees what we see in our culture today. Over the next few days we shall take a much needed look at what sin is doing to our society as its people continue to ignore God and place their faith in what the world has to offer
In his very first look in the mirror, Isaiah sees some things we wouldn’t necessarily think are all that horrible. I mean, we would think that we would read about murders and rapes and corruption. That’s the real news of a decaying and decadent culture, isn’t it? But Isaiah sees this:
- They are full of superstitions from the East – People are being influenced by and living under the philosophies of Eastern Mysticism.
- They practice divination like the Philistines – People are fascinated by and practicing divination…fortune telling, astrology, psychic prophecies, etc.
- They clasp hands with pagans – People are forming partnerships in business, marriage, and casual friendships with pagans…people who live only for the flesh and deny any need for God.
- Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures – People are captivated by wealth and prosperity.
- Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots – People are content and feel secure because of their possessions and the power of their political rulers.
- Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made – People believe that their value comes from their performance and their status at work.
It’s pretty apparent that the effects on culture of rejecting God are the same today as they were in Isaiah’s day. But the worst part of this picture is that the culture of the church has become just like the culture of sin in many ways, because God’s people are the one’s turning away from faith in Jesus Christ to adapt to the world around them. The average Christian is in denial about the poverty of their spiritual life because they are so enamored with the seeming wealth they are receiving from the world.
Many Christians today have lost a true spirit of discernment about the influence of sinful practices in their lives. They are in denial about how much their choices to just have fun in the world are sapping their spiritual joy and leaving them fighting inner battles with no real hope of victory. We have lost our first love – the love we once had for Jesus Christ because of His death on Calvary and the grace of God extended to us for the forgiveness of sins. The love that filled our hearts with a passion for obedience and surrender to Jesus. The love that once dominated our decisions. We have chosen to love the world and the things in the world. We have chosen to shake hands with sinners and seek their approval. We have chosen to affirm ourselves, rather than believing in the affirmation of God through Jesus Christ, thus becoming guilty of worshiping self as an idol.
It is time for us to turn from our wicked ways. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to set itself apart from the world and rise above the status quo. It is time for the age spots, moles, and signs of spiritual cancer to be healed by Jesus Christ so that we can shine forth the light of His grace. We must look in the mirror of our culture, and when we do we must recognize our role in making it what it is.
Now, about that debate on how I look…I don’t care what you say, as long as you don’t see the sin of the culture in me.