Truth Has Fallen in the Streets, Part Two

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When Words Deceive

Isaiah is my favorite Old Testament poet (Sorry,  King David!)  It is amazing to think that his words, “Truth is fallen in the streets…And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey” written 700 years before Christ, sound like a contemporary analysis of our world today.  Here is the whole passage:

Isaiah 59:11-15 NKJV
We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them: In transgressing and lying against the Lord, And departing from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Make this an editorial in today’s paper!  The Old Testament prophet is describing his day but his words and warnings apply to ours.  Remember, he lived seven centuries before Jesus–amazing!  Of course, God exists outside of time so centuries of it hinder Him not at all. His carefully crafted words sound a solemn warning for our country in this hour.

Using and Misusing Words

God has chosen to reveal Himself and His will through words.  This is so central to our Christian faith that Jesus Himself is referred to as “The Word made flesh and dwelling among us.”  While words were designed to reveal truth, they can also be misused. Words can be tools of deception. They are often the tools of the enemy of our souls, twisting truth into lies, principles into deadly deceptions, and “good news of great joy” into “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  How is this possible?  Often it happens because words are expressed in sounds. Two words can sound alike but mean opposite things, For instance, “cleave” means two opposite things.

 Cleave, a verb, has two very different meanings. It can describe cutting or splitting something apart with a sharp instrument, or — oddly enough — it can describe sticking to something like glue. (Vocabulary.com)

When the sound of the words used is not alarming, even comforting, how can we tell the intended meaning?  We can see the correct meaning in the context of the use of the word. Where does it originate? What does the word or phrase accomplish.  Words can sound harmless while bringing about devastation.

Abortion Is a Deceptive Word.

In the late 1970s I was on staff at a great church in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  Our state leaders called all the churches in the area together to understand this new term, “abortion.”  I was not alarmed by this innocuous sounding word.  It sounded like a procedure that could be useful in a woman’s life.  Our guest at this joint minister’s conference was a diminutive little Catholic nun who was involved in the anti-abortion movement.  Her presentation was simple–color slides of the products of  “abortion,” severed limbs, burned flesh, and the most horrible of images far beyond use in this space.   To this day, the word “abortion” brings these images into my mind and I pray it always will.  It is the truth!  It may be a truth that has fallen (“stumbled” is the NIV rendering) in our streets but it is still the truth.  The word sounds gentle, wise, and appropriate but the truth is violent, selfish, and evil. Let us examine the context of the words used. The truth is violent and bloody while the words sound helpful and useful.

Two other terms used in the promotion of this destruction are also deceptive

  1. Choice, and
  2. Women’s Health Care.

In truth, “choice” is exercised long before a child is conceived when the decision is made to obey our carnal impulses, ignoring the predictable results and potential responsibilities.  “Women’s Health Care” is deceptive because it is oblivious to the other human being’s life–the baby!  These words are well chosen in the effort to deceive the population to act thoughtlessly upon a lie from the pit of hell. The result of this deception is destruction on a hidden but massive scale.  Millions of innocent lives have been literally chopped to pieces and thrown into the trash in the name of a procedure of “women’s healthcare.”  How can any deception reach such dimensions? Yet it has! As another result, the population of subsequent generations since the 1970s has been significantly depleted. One of the results of this is the shaky future of Social Security and the subsequent wellbeing of the aged in the years ahead.  These terrible results of this intentional deceit may have had their origin in hell but their devastation can now be measured in human terms.

Those who claim to follow the Lord Jesus must also see the spiritual aspects of this colossal deceit. Let us return to the Prophet Isaiah. I know this is a lengthy passage but I challenge you to read it carefully paying close attention to its application to the news we take in each day.

Isaiah 59:1-15 ESV
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make.

Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.

Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.

For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

As bleak as these prophecies are, the great prophet/poet also has a message of hope for his readers.  You see, he was writing to the ancient nation of Israel, God’s Covenant People.  God had promised to forgive them if they returned to Him. The rest of this chapter begins his message of hope and it continues with great beauty into chapter 60.  What is the turning point that can take a nation from judgment to blessing? Truth.

May we as People of the Kingdom of God who live in America, return the Truth to the marketplace! May we rescue the Truth of God and put it back on its holy feet in our streets!  Here is the promise:

Isaiah 59:19-21 ESV
So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

I do not propose an act of congress but an act of conscience on the part of my brothers and sisters who share this blessing of our constitutional religious liberty. Let us speak the truth, live the truth, most of all, pray the truth for the sake of our nation. Who else will do this? Our anointed proclamation of the Truth of God in worship, word, and deed will shatter the fake and phony words of deception that brought on this destruction.

Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Arise! Shine! for your light has come!

Semper Reformanda!

Stephen Phifer

Truth Has Fallen in the Streets, Part Two

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