With things changed dramatically, people are left wondering what is next.

Justice is turned back. That which was once wrong has been turned into public justice. Those who oppose wrong doing are criticized and mocked as being negative and out of step with the time. National courts have stepped out off bounds intended for them and become law makers. What a country!

Righteousness stands far back. The innocent are condemned and the guilty acquitted. A person who departs from evil and will not become vile as the new norm makes himself a prey.

What a country!

Truth has stumbled in the public and righteousness taboo. Truth has few to support or patronize it. It is without public support. Truth has fallen upon the ground and justice is trampled under foot. Honesty has been outlawed. Truth is no longer considered the norm in the public square.

What a country!

Uprightness is shut our of public discourse. A champion of that which is right has no voice in the market place. Media does not make room for the norm or proper to be wholesomely represented in news or entertainment. The aberrant is openly advocated and shown to be normal by example.

What a country!

Of what country are you thinking? Actually it was written of Judah by the prophet Isaiah as it existed in the 8th century BC. The text reads: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.” (ESV)

When things began to go wrong, they blamed God. Some said He was not capable to save them from what they were unwilling to admit was the natural consequence of their conduct.

Isaiah answered “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59: 1) The meaning is not that God is unable to act constructively, but your conduct has hidden His face from you and shut His ear to you. Your conduct is so wrong that without a change of conduct He will not listen to you. That strong response to the people is universal and ageless. Bottom line: If you want to be spared from what you have coming and seek help, look in the mirror to find the one responsible, don’t blame God.

Not writing in pastels Isaiah vividly declared a woe: “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!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Isaiah then puts the blame where it belongs with these words: “...your sins have hidden His face from you.”

In America, we kill 4,000 babies each day. Today’s violence on our streets has surpassed the days of Noah. We’re trying to raise young people in a time when national leaders can’t seem to distinguish right from wrong.

Isaiah wrote of uprightness being shut out of public discourse. It is descriptive of our Supreme Court having banned prayer, Bible reading, and posting the Ten Commandments in schools and public buildings, God being expelled and told not to return. Kids bring guns to school, but we cannot post “Thou shalt not kill.”

We need to personally evaluate our conduct lest we be swept further into the vortex leading to these extremes and the inevitable resulting conduct. If you do you are sure to make yourself prey.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.

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