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?

Worldly spirituality

When we think we have ‘the answer’ in a spiritual pathway, then we risk worldliness. Paul says,

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. …  You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV)

Jesus was constantly harassed by leaders who were jealous for their own spiritual pathway. The Jewish leaders were, in these terms, worldly for the fruit of their passion was jealousy and quarrelling. We see this same fruit in the Church today under different spiritual banners.

Inevitably as we seek God we follow a spiritual pathway. When we do, we are tempted to find affirmation there. Jesus told the religious leaders, ‘How can you believe when you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?’ (John 5:44) Whichever pathway we are in, the time will come when Jesus will lead us to the cross as He crucifies our reputation or even our place in the pathway. This crucifixion can never be predicted or arranged, but when we are faced with the dilemma we know it! This crucifixion elevates Jesus as Lord over the pathway in our hearts. It seems we will lose all we have gained, but actually we gain Christ who is greater by far!