Today’s Reading: Isaiah 3:1-5:30 (additional reading: Psalm 53:1-6 and Proverbs 22:28-29)
In God’s creation of the world, we see the statements in Genesis 1 that God saw that it was “good.” (Hebrew: tov) (Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,21,25). Then in verse 31, he says that it was “very good” or “excellent.” (Hebrew: tov m’oth). Here God is making a statement about creation. He is saying that his creation is good. Now, good we know describes an ethical or a moral quality. It describes value. It also describes the lack or opposite of evil. While the fact that God called creation good is of itself significant, I want to draw attention not to the goodness itself, but to the fact that it was God who was making this judgment. It was God who decided that the creation was good.
When we try to assess things ourselves, what is good and what is evil, we end up mixing up the values. We end up calling the expensive or good things cheap or evil. Eve made the first human assessment of something’s value, when she assessed, by looking, that the tree was “good” for food. But she was deadly wrong. Eating from that tree was the worst thing she could ever have done for herself. It led directly to the judgment of God that follows later in the passage. And as we know it led to the curse that still plagues the earth today.
Our society has had a tendency to do this for many years and now I fear that it’s beginning to creep into the church. Our society says that what is right and wrong is up to you. What is good for you may not necessarily be good for me. And what is bad for you, might not necessarily be bad for me. But this is a lie.
Isaiah addressed this issue in today’s reading 5:20, “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.” Once again, we have the same Hebrew word for “good” here. (tov)
The first word of Isaiah 5:20 packs a lot of meaning. It’s a simple word, “woe” and yet it says so much. What is this word “woe.” This word describes more than just coincidental misfortune. It’s not just saying that because what you did wasn’t good for you, there will be some natural consequence. But when “woe to those who…” is used in the Old Testament it means one thing, that the judgment of God is coming.
The Bible is not a book full of suggestions and we must be careful that while we’re fighting against moral relativism on the front side, that it’s not creeping in through the back door. You see, just like Eve had the Word of God, which told her that the tree was not good for her, we also have the Word of God. We have the Bible, the Word of God, which clearly tells us what is good and what is evil. God, knowing that were incapable of properly assessing goodness, laid it out for us.
How have you been affected by moral relativism?
Father, Thank You that You alone are good and therefore You alone can call what is good, good. Help us to avoid those things that are not beneficial for us and to live by Your wisdom and Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen