Isaiah 50:11 “Look, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled — This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment.”
This is a world of increasing threat and trouble. Trouble stalks our streets and shopping malls. Trouble comes to our door. We live in fear of terror’s pounding insistence on entering our homes. Why are people after us? How can we be safe?
Some say that the world is in a clash of civilizations. The argument goes something like this – ‘There are people who hate the west because of our values and way of life. They want us destroyed. There can be no peace between us and them.’ It doesn’t help the situation when ideology, secular or religious is hijacked by evil and used as a rationalization for contempt and hatred. The godless gods of one side pitted against the vengeful god of the other each spurring its adherents into an ever widening spiral of violence.
The ‘west’ – which is us – has been undergoing a revolutionary cultural transformation that hasn’t been for the good. Emmet Scott describes it this way; “These social and cultural changes were accompanied by the rise, amongst the intelligentsia, of a militantly secular culture, which seemed to lose no opportunity to ‘debunk’ traditional Christianity, whether in the movies, on television or in the newspapers, and which promoted a culture of sneering condescension directed at the beliefs of practising Christians. . . . God, the intellectual elite of the West proclaimed, was dead; and the Brave New World they were constructing was right out of Aldous Huxley’s famous dystopia of the same name. Sexual pleasure was the purpose of life, and if you weren’t part of it, you were worse than stupid.”
The world is divided into ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’. The rest of the world – the poor and dispossessed are breeding grounds for discontent, anger and hate towards those who have. Those who have don’t seem to care about those who don’t have. Chris Hedges argues; “We have engineered the rage of the dispossessed. The evil of predatory global capitalism and empire has spawned the evil of terrorism. And rather than understand the roots of that rage and attempt to ameliorate it, we have built sophisticated mechanisms of security and surveillance, passed laws that permit the targeted assassinations and torture of the weak, and amassed modern armies and the machines of industrial warfare to dominate the world by force. This is not about justice. It is not about the war on terror. It is not about liberty or democracy. It is not about the freedom of expression. It is about the mad scramble by the privileged to survive at the expense of the poor. And the poor know it.”
This casual attitude towards the poor along with the rapacious appetite of entitlement has been noticed and condemned by God throughout the ages by the Prophets. Ezekiel hammers out a scathing indictment; “Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!” (Ezekiel 34:19)
What is the judgement? Collectively we will ‘lie down in torment’. Jeremiah (12:13) proclaims; “They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. They will bear the shame of their harvest because of the LORD’s fierce anger” The deceiving light of our own fires makes us think we walk in the light of a new day but we walk in darkness. There is only one way out and it is anathema to the proud. The proud love darkness as it hides their grasping hands and gluttonous mouth; .”This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19,20)
The Apostle Peter before the Sanhedrin said that Jesus was the salvation of mankind and rightly accused the rulers of rejecting Him; “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11,12) We in ‘the west’ have abandoned Jesus to chase after other gods and now we are left to ‘lie down in torment’ as nations. Yet, God in His Mercy has given each an individual choice; “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
Jesus calls; “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
Come Lord Jesus!