Scripture can take us to unexpected places with intentional purpose. At times, it can be troubling, but the uncomfortable challenge is meant for our good. Why? Because the world delights in redefining The Word and, if we are not equipped with Truth, we’re prey to deception.
The day’s devotions took me to the 41st Chapter of Isaiah which contains well-known and much loved promises to God’s people. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ” (vs. 10) Then the chapter turns a corner and there is head-on reproof.
Idolatry was being practiced in the land. Though the Godless knew the name of the Lord, they refused Him and encouraged each other with willful disobedience when their rebellion was called out. Pride and arrogance accompanied their stance and God made clear the foolishness of their course. “Indeed you are nothing. And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.” (vs. 24) The sentence jumped off the page.
I was familiar with passages that named abominations, but it was obvious I didn’t know them all. So I began a search and discovered far more than the sixty-seven references in the Bible. I stumbled upon frantic attempts to redefine its meaning; some by people identifying with churches. The deeper I probed, the more tortured the language and the darker the journey … all of which was completely unnecessary.
When God proclaims an act or attitude to be an abomination, it’s a warning of mercy to turn away from a practice before it’s too late. Many have failed to heed it. Judgment is often dismissed because it doesn’t appear swift. We interpret the patience of God as evidence that our choices are no big deal and press on in error. Yet each day judgment is restrained is testimony of God’s desire for all to come to repentance. In the face of unspeakable rebellion, He waits. He waits for the one He knows will be the last to receive salvation. And the waiting will end.
Manipulating truth has gained popularity in our day and, with it has come the ever-increasing demand for society to bow to the god of man’s making. Rather than honoring the God who made us, idolaters seek to remake God to their liking. No wonder it is an abomination.
If we are to stand in such a time, it must be upon the solid rock of Christ. The One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life is coming again to judge. The Word made flesh stepped into our world with the offer of grace before the hour of judgment. Why would we refuse it?
God is God and we have no business re-writing His Word. He has every right to tell us when something is an abomination. The One who is both Love and Justice does so with righteous authority. It is not our job to dispute Him or feverishly redefine the meaning of His words. That is an act of futility; for willing rebellion cannot stand in the face of Truth. We are called to humble reverence, genuine repentance and faithful devotion. So, how could we claim to love our fellow man unless we speak Truth without revision. He sets the standard. He proclaims the boundaries. He calls us from confusion to confession that we might be conformed to the image of His Son.
It’s not easy, but it is possible. The power to grasp Truth is found in the quiet Presence of the Almighty where we come with an open heart and open Bible. God is the Author. Our pens are unfit for editing, but perfect for taking notes.