Downside Up, Upside Down :: By Gene Lawley

My pastor has started preaching through the Book of Isaiah, about ten verses or so for each message. It will take a while. What has stood out so far is an overall sense that Isaiah is writing today’s front page news articles in America — mayhem in the streets, subtle treachery against other segments of society—you name it. When he came to Isaiah 5:20, the resemblance came into sharp focus. Look at what Isaiah wrote of God’s disturbing declarations:

“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!”

In the Book of Acts we read about Christians “turning the world upside down,” but this is in the reverse direction. I asked an associate the other day if he could think of any segment of our society that did not show signs of turmoil and strife, as that which is “wrong” attempts to overwhelm that which is “right.” Think with me on these, for example:

Public education; sanctity of life; justice versus injustice; law enforcement; political affairs; truth and honesty; moral integrity; sexual identity; family integrity—likely you can think of others. Was Isaiah talking about today’s world as well as his? God’s eternal Word transcends all time, for sure.

Is this a preview of what the Scriptures say will be the norm in the last days, or is it actually “the last days,” already? The Apostle Paul wrote of these times in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: 

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

And further, in 2 Timothy 3:13:

“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Let’s highlight some of the issues. At the highest levels of public life we watch unequal justice being played out. Clear selectivity is the mode, it seems. In morality, it seems to be open season for whatever is wanted, and anyone who even hints at such actions being wrong earns labels of “racist,” “homophobic,” and “intolerant.”

We are told that we must not identify the gender of a baby; they must be allowed that choice when they are three or four years old so that proper changes can be made, surgically, if necessary to fulfill their choice. But what if they change their minds when they get older?

Do you sometimes think the inmates are actually running the asylum?

Actually, the Bible is rightly identifying those “alternative” thinkers and promoters: “There is no fear of God before their eyes!” (Romans 3:18). Solomon’s wisdom tells it in the proper order: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

These things do not go unnoticed, the turning upside down of “good for evil” and falsehood for truth, for God says, in Romans 1:18, what He thinks of it: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness….”

In the days of Lot, Genesis 19 verifies the truthfulness of that statement, “by their deeds you shall know them.” The city of Sodom was saturated with evil, and God saw that it was doomed for any redemption—except for one man and his family, almost, at least. On the very day, even at the very moment that Lot and his family left the city, destruction rained down upon the city and its people. Suddenly, without any advertisement to those people, like a thief in the night.

Likewise, Luke tells us in Luke 17:28-30, “They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

And Paul wrote to the inquiring Thessalonians, “For you, yourselves, know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess.5:2-3).

America and the world were headed into chaos by man’s own doing, and that same “doing” is what is driving the “upside-down” push for domination of the whole world for Satan’s purposes. But now, America, and the world also, are “eating and drinking, buying and selling, building and planting,” just as in the days of Lot. It is the kind of time when Jesus said the return of the Son of Man could be expected. No doubt but that the cup of God’s wrath is sloshing over the cup’s brim. Is that “sudden destruction” looming even as we speak?

When there is a time for rhyme, a feeble attempt at poetry rises up in me. Here is one that seems to fit in with this topic:

Yea, But….

When we speak or write of Jesus coming,
In the silence we seem to hear, “Yeah, but…
He hasn’t come in all these years,
You must be just another whacky nut.”

But Noah worked years to build his ark,
And the people would all laugh and jeer.
Then when the raindrops started to fall,
There came that awful hush of fear.

When we speak or write of hidden forces
With evil plans for us, we hear, “Yeah, but
They would never do such a thing to us,
You outrageous, silly, conspiracy nut!”

 Signs are all pointing to the end of time
When we will find out who is the real nut;
When the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes,
Then we will clearly see who makes the cut!

 There’s one way to cry out, “Yeah, but”
And it readily gets my approval nod.
It’s when you realize truth in the Word,
And your exclamation is, “Yeah, but God…!”

 Is there no hope, then? In most every pronouncement of judgment, God also includes, almost in the same breath or context, an offer of mercy, if it is wanted. Two prominent statements of man’s condition and God’s response to its certain end are Romans 3:23-24 and Romans 6:23:

 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 In one response of man, Peter replied to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69).

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