We’ve hit a massive problem in society. We no longer know what is right and wrong. What’s true for you, isn’t true for me, so people say. But beneath the surface there is a much deeper and troubling issue.
As our knowledge expands we realise that each area of study is more complex than we thought. So, we may feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights! There’s a pressure to know everything in order to make a decision. Our food, exercise, sleep pattern, recreation, moral and ethical decisions all seem to be big decisions. It’s true to say that we can’t know everything before we make a decision. It’s also true that not all that we discover is either helpful or reliable! Guidelines are certainly needed at the personal level.
The public realm is more troubling. How do we interpret events and trends? Are we sure that we know what is true in a debate by a panel? How do we evaluate speeches? How does an editorial policy affect what is broadcast? Can we rely on pictures when digital images can be manipulated?
The phrase ‘truth has perished’ is an old fashioned translation of a phrase from the Old Testament. It diagnosed why a people were in deep trouble and their society was falling apart. Isaiah had to deliver some bracing home truths to people who had become deaf to God and hard hearted. His message was a reality check, that made them realize how helpless they were, staring at the devastation of their wrongdoing: ‘We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows….We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away’’ (Isaiah 59v9,11). Society was now sick due to rebelling against the LORD: ‘truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey’ (Isa 59v14-15).
Thankfully God could see all that was going on and took action: ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the LORD’ (Isa 59v20). God came not to destroy people, but to destroy their sin. He came to give us the truth – a sure footing for life!
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