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Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Our part of the world is really getting green!
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"Calling Good An Abomination"
Message summary: As God's children let us hear the words of the apostle Paul and "hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).
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"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). "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
Today's message is written concerning current events here in the USA but the teaching is applicable wherever you may live.
For nearly 50 years among the most contested cultural and moral issues here in America has been the legalization of abortion, more specifically the killing of innocent life. In 1973 the Supreme Court decision asserted that abortion is a "constitutional right". Two days ago a leaked report indicated that this decision may be overturned which has reignited simmering coals to a blazing hot fire in what has been called the culture war.
The report resulted in an emotionally strong reaction from both sides reinforcing the reality that there is a deep, deep division on this subject matter. But I was especially struck each time a statement played over and over on the news made by a prominent senator. He used a word from the Bible that describes what God strongly hates and abhors when he asserted that the decision to overturn Roe V. Wade would be "an abomination" (see here).
That immediately caught my attention since one of the abominations mentioned in the Bible is child sacrifice. "They built the high places of Baal that are in the Valley of Ben-hinnom to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them, nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to mislead Judah to sin" (Jeremiah 32:35). Essentially he was calling an abomination the opposite of what God calls an abomination!
"An abomination is something that causes hate or disgust. In biblical usage, an abomination is something that God loathes or hates because it is offensive to Him and His character."(gotquestions.com)
Today let us examine timeless truths from the Holy Scriptures that address this matter as we seek insight and needed discernment.
We have used the first daily text many times in the course of writing these messages over the last 25 years, especially the first part, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil". Evil is increasingly called good and good is increasingly called evil. Evil has existed during every generation after the fall but there are certain periods of time it increases and other periods, such as revival, when it's tamped down a bit. You can see this in Israel's history during the period of the Judges with the ebb and flow of good kings and evil kings.
In the 1960's the church, whether liberal or conservative branches, was practically unanimous in its understanding of life, marriage, family and sexuality:
1) Life begins at conception.
2) Marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman.
3) The family is the fundamental unit in society.
4) The moral understanding that sexual relations were reserved for marriage.
5) God created male and female.
For that matter even society at large had these moral underpinnings. Hollywood used to have Biblical standards which was reflected in the Hays Code in the 1930's regarding the movies they produced to be viewed by the public!
But throughout my lifetime there's been a steady erosion of morality and subsequently so much "calling evil good". This has brought about the inevitable corollary; good is called evil, even abominable. And with a deep fog of spiritual blindness enveloping our country (and many other countries) people are frustrated and confused. There seems to be a huge lack of discernment.
Several years ago a nationally known preacher made a statement concerning our present moral condition that is imminently Biblical and sensible regarding the obvious consequences to children being raised without a father's influence. He was excoriated by the national media with the typical charges of being intolerant, narrow-minded and of course hateful.
Among the signs of our culture's moral downfall is the failure to uphold the Creator's standards, which has led to great confusion as to what even constitutes evil.
What a powerful message in our first daily text. "Woe" is a literal transliteration of the Hebrew. In other words it's an expression that sounds the same in Hebrew, English or any language (similar to the word, "hallelujah"). Woe is also an onomatopoeia, which is when the formation of a word imitates the natural sound associated with the object or action involved. Consider the sounds of deep, painful wailing. Isaiah's "woe" is timeless.
"Woe" is an exclamation of pain and grief. As our culture drifts farther and farther from its Biblical moorings we see the truth of Isaiah's proclamation. Do we also feel his exclamation of woe as well?
What is the subject of this woe? Three are listed in the daily text.
1) who call evil good and good evil,
2) who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
3) who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Biblical morality is being turned on its head, not only in Isaiah's cultural setting but also in our own lifetime. Sometimes I am stunned by that which is so contrary to the right and wrong I was taught as a child now being accepted by non-believers and sadly even some professed believers. Today much of what is evil is called good and what is good is called evil.
The second daily text is a zinger of truth that we all need to hearken: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
Today let us remain faithful to the perspective that God gives us through the inspiration of Scripture. As unpopular, "intolerant", socially insensitive, and politically incorrect as it may be described, let us continue to call evil "evil" and to call good "good". For sure, let us not call a good decision an abomination!
As God's children let us hear the words of the apostle Paul and "hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we do not want to be overcome by evil but we want to overcome evil with good, as described in Scripture. And the way we do this is to absorb, maintain, and uphold the Scriptural understanding of good and evil, no matter what others may do or think. We pray against authorities, personalities, and persuasive rhetoric that tempt us to compromise or water down the truths we learn from Scripture. The contrasts of light vs. darkness, good vs. evil, the spiritual nature vs. the sinful nature are abundant in Scripture. May the guiding light by which we live our lives in these evil days be the light of Your Holy Word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Hymn of Heaven" Video Phil Wickham We dedicate this song to our friend Joe and his mother Doris.
Two feedback points from yesterday's message on farm smells:
Joe Sherer, a pastor friend wrote, "I was at a leadership conference last week focused on strengthening the mission of our network of churches, and a speaker said that we are the "scent ones" referring both to today's passage as well as our mandate to reach the world for Christ. I thought you might appreciate that apt pun!"
My brother Pat served in the Air Force in Germany. His friend, Roger, who grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota received a small prescription container from his brother in the mail. He opened it, inhaled a whiff of the enclosed manure and enthusiastically commented, "It smells like home!"
Yesterday we snuck into a Senior Pastor's luncheon in Camp Hill PA. (We surely aren't old enough to be seniors, are we!) There we saw many old friends. "Old Friends" Video Bill Gaither The late Kenny Rogers sang a song with a thoughtful truth, "You Can't Make Old Friends". When you meet someone and become a friend they're inevitably a new friend, regardless of how old they are! Another common phrase is, "Old friends make it great to grow old." We would probably word it, "Having old friends is one of the positive aspects of getting old". So here's to you Dave Simpson, Mike Matangelo, Tom Neizmik, Mark Pulliam and so many, many others!
Bob Lecocq is a friend from college we had not seen for many years.
The Bradneys are retired missionaries to Costa Rica which our church supported when we pastored in northern PA in the 80's. Our folks from back home will be pleased to see them in this photo.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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