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Usual suspects

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! Isaiah 14.12

Preaching through Isaiah for the second time, one is struck afresh by the majesty of the prophet's revelation and the relevance of his message - which are, of course, God's revelation and message through the prophet. In his sweep across the rebellious nations, including Israel and Judah, two vices keep appearing for condemnation: injustice to others and infidelity to God.

The parallels with today are obvious: the rich continue to prosper, poor people suffer, while the churches are in free-fall. The root of the problem is a complex tangle of pride, greed and cynicism. Pride because people want to control their own destiny without being accountable to anyone else, let alone God. Greed because advertising, social media and peer-pressure are convincing us that we want more than we need. Cynicism because of the series of scandals that have undermined every area of public life, from churches to politics to journalism to celebrities to royalty.

One could become cynical oneself! A better way is to heed that other common factor running through Isaiah's prophecy: God's preservation of a faithful remnant through every generation. From that faithful remnant, Jesus emerged and, ever since, that faithful remnant has continued to bear witness to Jesus as God's answer to the problems and the hopes of the world. It began with his first coming and it will be completed when he returns.

In the meantime we have the antidote to those twin evils of injustice and infidelity: love God, love neighbour - through worshipping the former and serving the latter.



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