“Woe for calling evil good, Culture in Decline”
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
You don’t often see “woe” used in an article. It’s a word that has fallen out of usage in our day. But it’s a word that ought to be understood and taken seriously. Woe is used in Scripture to convey a dire warning. It usually precedes God’s judgment. Isaiah Chapter 5 has led me to reflect on some current issues. Isaiah 5:20, “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!” God was issuing a warning to His people for their abusive and oppressive behavior towards their brothers. More specifically, God was directing His “woe” against the leaders of His people. There are six woes’ in Isaiah 5. Taken together, we could call this situation, “Living without a moral compass.”
Isaiah comprehensively covered God’s judgment and salvation. Chapter 5 was addressed to God’s “vineyard”, His chosen people, Israel, more specifically, Judah. By direct implication, this declaration is for the Church. God sought justice and righteousness within His people and found none! God’s indictment was directed to “those who were wise in their own eyes,” Isaiah 5:21.
God expects His people to know good from evil. He expects His people to follow “the good”. “The good” is that which is morally and ethically right. The ultimate source of “the good” is God. He has revealed “the good” in His word. “He has told you, O man, what is good.” Micah 6:8a
We also have God’s promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him, those whom He has called, Romans 8:28.
The Bible was written to believers but it applies to all people. God does not have a sliding scale. He doesn’t grade on a curve. “All must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2Corinthans 5:10
Therefore, there is a necessity for all societies to have and maintain a moral compass. A moral compass is simply a clear understanding of right and wrong. God made man in His image. All men have a sense of what is right because God put it within all of us.
Because of the Fall of Adam, all men inherit Adam’s sin and are born with a sin nature. Even though we all know what is right, we suppress the truth. Within our culture, we often have a difficult time in discerning “the good”.
Our Western Culture has been led down a destructive path, the path of moral relativism. “What’s right for you may not be right for me” is the opinion of many. Our culture calls things that are evil good and vice versa. We no longer use words such as sin and evil. Sickness and dysfunction are the politically correct replacements. Evil is reserved for those senseless acts of violence committed by crazed killers who murder school children or Islamic terrorists. We have placed issues of human life in a confusing ethic. Men have usurped God’s authority in deciding when to end human life, from the womb to the tomb. When horrible events occur, like the recent school shootings in Florida, our leaders look to legislation. Even with more laws, our culture continues to spiral downward.
I write this as a man who believes the Risen Lord Jesus. I am accountable to God to declare the truth and live under His word. I dare not bless what God curses! I dare not remain silent when evil is called good. There is a dear price to pay when culture stops teaching by life and example that there is an absolute standard of good. God and His word is that standard and we have effectively removed both from the public sphere.
“For evil to succeed all that is necessary is for good men to be silent.” I am not good in the sight of God. I am a sinner. God alone is good, Luke 18:19! Sin and evildoers will be with us until Christ returns. Yet, God has given all of us a moral compass. Everything is not relative. May we continue to live in this great culture teaching right and wrong to our children. May we all acknowledge that good morals are grounded in a good God who is the absolute standard.