…the land thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…
The United States of America is the land of my birth, but it is now a much different place than I knew as a boy. Some of the changes have been good, and some not so good. About a week ago, some immense changes happened not only in the way this nation defines marriage, but in the way it defines how the law of the land is established. Many are the commentaries about the announcement on June 27 of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriage. The commentaries I have seen which oppose the decision rightly emphasize the travesty of five jurists disregarding not only the will of the people of over half of the sovereign states of this Union, but the organic law of the Union itself. In that sense, the Court’s decision reveals the true sin of Sodom. Contrary to popular opinion, that sin is not homosexuality. It is something else – something seemingly innocuous, but which, if unchecked, leads to complete abandonment of everything the Creator of this universe has deemed right. The Lord explains this in a word to Judah and Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian Conquest:
“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:48-50 NASB)
What this passage tells us is that Sodom’s sin was lawlessness. The people of the city decided that they could determine what was right and wrong in their own eyes without regard to the true standards of righteousness established by their Creator. That arrogance led to a simultaneous increase of wealth and of poverty as the people of Sodom enriched themselves at the expense of the needy. Their world began to revolve around their stomachs and their pleasures, and in time that led to the abominable behaviors which triggered ultimate judgment. This is the chain of moral dissolution the Apostle Paul traces in Romans 1:18-32. If this is indeed so, then what the Supreme Court decided was merely an indicator of the corruption at the heart of our nation.
Who is to blame? Everyone, of course. We can start with the Body of Messiah, which is no less as arrogant and filled with selfishness as the rest of society. With pious faces, we check the box of religious devotion so that we may with gusto engage to excess in our private indulgences. That is a point in an excellent commentary by blogger Ed Cyzewski in his post, “The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals A Gift”.
Another prescient commentary comes from Pete Rambo in, “…the land thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…”. As usual, Pete examines the issue from a Hebraic perspective. His post, reproduced below, contains much food for prayer and thought. As you read it, consider the question, “Where do we go from here?”
Posted on natsab, June 28, 2015
Yesterday’s Shabbat service and Torah study at Issachar Oasis in Irmo, SC was good. That fellowship is studying through Isaiah as well as the weekly Torah portion and yesterday we covered Isaiah 7:14-16. (Like the last prophet they studied, we’ll be in Isaiah for years…!)
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
The focus of the leader and the group was the great hope we have in Messiah and the promise that Isaiah makes to Ahaz. Glorious… but my eyes could not/would not leave the phrase “the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…” and I was pondering the recent happenings in American jurisprudence. For much of the world, and especially the United States, one has to have been under a rock not to know that two days ago the US Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing gay marriage. Frankly, I was not surprised. What surprised me was that there were actually four dissenters! Never-the-less, the ruling is done and we have one more nail in the coffin of this once great nation. But, why “the land thou abhorrest…” you ask? Pretty simple, really. Israel and Judah were judged because they defiled the land. They did so in many ways. They
- failed to keep the land Sabbaths (Lev. 26:34; 2 Chr. 36:21)
- defiled the weekly Sabbaths (Eze. 20:13ff)
- worshiped idols and the sun (Eze. 8:16)
- committed abominable acts (Jer. 7:30)
- sacrificed children to idols (2 Chr. 28:3)
This nation, oft described as “a city on a hill,” hath done no less than Israel and Judah. In fact, I believe she has committed greater abominations and will be judged accordingly. Blessed with bounty and riches, we have squandered that with which we were entrusted. Today, America has lost her soul and has further sunk into the mucky morass of moral relativism. Consider what we’ve become:
- The world’s greatest exporter of vices and smut
- The world’s greatest exporter of war
- A leader in abortion murder of our most vulnerable and valuable asset
- and now, Validator and Champion of those nations who already chose gay marriage, God’s Word be damned.
Judgment cometh. Make no mistake. He is standing at the door and in fury! Fellow blogger, Lane Keister, with whom I trade barbs from time to time, wrote a piece titled What Are You Willing to Give Up? He posits, “This will have massive ramifications that we can only barely glimpse at the moment.” Honestly, in his speculations, I do not think he goes far enough… Church as we know it is over. And, maybe for the best. The crucible of persecution and home fellowships will bring to an end the great experiment of professional clergy and return the Body to Holy Spirit led men and women who read the Word instead of staying buried in the traditions and opinions of men. Sad that it comes to this, but what a victory for our King. A remnant will remain. Always. Revelation tells us who that remnant is: Those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Yeshua. (Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 15:3 [Moses and Lamb]; and 20:4) Right now the Body of Messiah needs to be asking two very hard questions:
- What are the commandments of God?
- What does it mean to have the faith/testimony of Yeshua?
- Faith is NOT mental assent. Hebraically, faith DOES something.
- What did Jesus DO??? (He kept the Torah!)
- Yeshua/Jesus was a kosher eating, Sabbath-keeping, tassel wearing, feast observing Jew. (We may not be Jews, but we can imitate Him in every other way…)
- Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Messiah.” John says, “walk as He walked…”
- Simply, are you following men and their traditions, or following the Messiah and His Instructions?
Take stock of yourself and what you believe. The land has been defiled and judgment comes. Consider this closing passage,
Isaiah 24:1-6 (NASB)
Judgment on the Earth
24 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. 2And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. 3The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. 4The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. 5The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws (Hebrew says: Torah), violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
Consider your ways….