The end of pleasure?

Our western culture could be like this…

Listen to this, you pleasure-loving kingdom, living at ease and feeling secure. You say, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other. [Isaiah 47:8NLT]

Where self-focused complacency develops, a culture becomes conceited and wants everyone to emulate it.

“Come down, virgin daughter of Babylon, and sit in the dust.” [Isaiah 47:1NLT]

Law is symbolised by Egypt. Pleasure seeking is symbolised by Babylon, whose end is not great.

You will be naked and burdened with shame. [Isaiah 47:3NLT]

Ultimately, the Lord lifts the lid and exposes what is within. Arrogance and abuse born of conceit will be exposed.

… your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one…’ [Isaiah 47:10NLT]

A culture that grows powerful through knowledge uses that power to exercise its will and elevate itself. It begins to act as if it were a god.

A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared. [Isaiah 47:11NLT]

The Lord shakes everything to prove its permanence. That which is not built on the foundation of Christ will eventually fall.

Where are all your … stargazers who make predictions ..? Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds. But they are like straw burning in a fire. [Isaiah 47:13-14NLT]

The experts make predictions as if they had divine insight. Ultimately, they will be proven fools and those who trust in them will share their fate.
So, what do I build my life on?

Response to abuse

How did Jesus respond to abuse? It seems He responded with an honest statement of the truth, often in the form of a question.

Take the betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks Judas, ‘Do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ No accusation was needed, no anger, rather He confronted his betrayer with truth.

Take the incident of the slap. John 18:22-23 ‘When Jesus said this, one of the officials near-by struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” He demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me.” Jesus does not justify himself; nor does He accuse his assailant, rather He confronts with truth through a question.

A spiritual leader is behaving badly and I am unsure how to deal with it. I was all for charging in on a white horse named Truth and Righteousness. Then I read in Psalm 45, alluding to Jesus, that he comes ‘on behalf of truth, humility and righteousness.’ (45:4) The attitude I was missing was humility. It is so easy to exchange righteousness for self-righteousness. The problem with self-righteousness is that it wants to stand over the other in order to force its own will.  There is nothing of this in Jesus’ responses. He seems more interested in helping the other person to understand himself and develop as a person towards righteousness, and so He exposes the truth behind the situation, while permitting the abuse to continue. What amazing love.