The goodness of God's law
Week beginning: 10th September, 2017 | By James Crabtree | St Albans
"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: 20-25 (NKJV)
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!
Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man!
Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people..."
Isaiah's prophetic voice proclaims the reality of the true order of things, as determined by the Lord of the universe. The message is striking, characterised by sharp contrasts. It also stands as a grave warning to the church today, having been directed at God's disobedient people in Isaiah's time.
The revealed divine order consists of good (as opposed to evil), light (as distinct from darkness), the Law of God (contrasting the wisdom of man) and just judgment (unlike the corrupt subterfuges of sinful man).
Our instinctive tendency is to re-direct the force of these words elsewhere; to excuse ourselves from attitudes and conduct which would offend the Lord of the divine order revealed here. Yes, Isaiah's words do accurately describe and therefore remind us of the fallen world under God's judgment. Shockingly, however, their primary application is to God's people. Thankfully, Isaiah later provides hope, speaking of a servant who would be pierced for our transgressions, taking the punishment we deserve and bringing us peace with God (53:5).
In the light of Christ let us be eager to examine our own lives and to promote his life-giving order. Israel was called to be a light to the nations: as Christians too it will only be our faithfulness to God's Word and His ways which enables us to live in true godly obedience in this world, both privately and in the public sphere.
1. That we ourselves would live and work according to an enriched understanding of God's eternal order and value system.
2. That today's church would act upon Isaiah's prophetic warnings, living obediently in a disobedient world.
3. That the legal profession would remember and not reject God's laws which he has given as a path for human flourishing.
4. That we turn daily to the living God, confessing our sin and receiving forgiveness and strength to walk in His ways.