Theologian G.K. Chesterton once opined, “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese” – a curious and humorous reflection upon the supposed responsibility of poets. Perhaps though, just perhaps, their task is not to delve into the mysteries and wonder of the much-loved coagulated dairy product. Love, tears, wonder… yes; Gouda, Brie, and cheddar… likely not.
In light of current events, it seems in the same vein that the Church is mysteriously silent on the subject of judgment. Yet, ours is the consideration of such reflections. Famine, earthquake wars, rumors of war, plagues. Are they attributable to a degreed decree of wrath, or are they simply part of a greater “inconvenience” of the curse upon Creation? Truly, lacking the divine mind, we cannot say for sure. But… it certainly seems that it should be part of our discussion.
In Old Testament times plagues et al, were poured out as punitive elements upon those who failed to honor the decrees of the Lord, or simply those who were downright evil (even if they had never heard the decrees). Sometimes the wrath was delivered quickly, other times the Sovereign hand of adjudication was slower to move. That judgment was for a season, determined by the Sovereign, or as the people would repent. Has this time been placed upon us today, this nation as a result of willful sustained neglect of, and defiance of the will of God?
I would conclude that most people rely disproportionately upon the grace of God, giving little consideration to the justice, holiness, purity, and glory of God. How we have so drastically exhausted that portion of grace!
It seems as though the cycle repeats in the path of humanity… as it was in those days, so it is again… now.
“Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
“Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
Chapter 30, verse 1 begins as the Lord levies an indictment upon those who choose the wrong side of godliness. Compounded sin results in “woe,” which is Old Testament speak for bad, ummm, very bad… wrath of God bad… People who have elected to be bad themselves in contrast to the instruction of the Lord (Isaiah 30:9, 12). Plans which are not divinely inspired, and alliances with the profane draw condemnation from the Almighty.
Verses 8-11 continue to detail the offence.
“Now go, write it on a tablet before them
And inscribe it on a scroll,
That it may serve in the time to come
As a witness forever.
For this is a rebellious people, false sons,
Sons who refuse to listen
To the instruction of the LORD;
Who say to the seers, ‘You must not see visions’;
And to the prophets, ‘You must not prophesy to us what is right,
Speak to us pleasant words,
‘Get out of the way, turn aside from the path,
Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’”
The Lord has provided heralds of the grace and mercy of a holy God. Those who want to be free of the bridle of holiness demand to hear lighter words, words which neither condemn nor convict. Rather, they choose the yoke of freedom, however delusional it might be. They seek to be delivered from the knowledge of the Holy One. Their denial of instruction results in an eternal indictment.
If only these rejections were isolated to times past, but they are not. Yep. The cycle repeats. No pessimism or truth welcomed here in America; we want feeble fables and foibles foisted upon us.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Just like Israel, to reject the instruction of the Lord will result in severe consequences for this nation.
“Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant, whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter’s jar,
So ruthlessly shattered
That a sherd will not be found among its pieces
To take fire from a hearth
Or to scoop water from a cistern.” (Isaiah 30:13b-14).
Quick. Brutal. Destroyed.
Mysteriously silent? Yes…
Could these times possibly be a judgment of sorts? Yes, it could.
Could we repent and turn the divine hand in our favor? Yes, and possibly.
Even if we still are held to the consequences of our actions, could we still choose to do what is right in the eyes of God? Most assuredly.
People need to know.
Somebody better start talking.
We better start talking.