Monday, September 9, 2019

Climate Change

You've probably heard a lot about climate change in the past few years, but not that. I'm not planning to talk about whether the earth is warming or cooling, whether pollution is the cause, what we can do to clean up our ecosystem and our oceans, or whether plastic straws are of the devil (although that last one might be at least a bit theological, if you spin it just right). 

What I am going to talk about is a real pollution problem that we have in our world, one that demands addressing right away - one that must be cleaned up, but, sadly, may not be in this life. I say that with some certainty because it's the same pollution problem that Isaiah wrote about thousands of years ago and we haven't found a way to fix it since then. 

You see, the real trouble in our world? The real poison? The real problem? 

It's "transgressed teachings, overstepped decrees, and [the breaking of] the permanent covenant" (Isaiah 24).

In other words, the most toxic thing on our planet right sin. It always has been, and until Christ comes back and renews creation, it always will be.

Still, there is some hope. These are some very specific troubles that Isaiah identifies, and if we look at them for what they are, we can see some things and hope to gather some wisdom to help us live more disciplined lives in the world and avoid contributing to the pollution problem. 

Transgressed teachings means that we have been given the information that we need to do what is right and to live and to love well. We know what the "right" answer is. But we aren't listening to it. We aren't following it. Rather, we are doing what we know doesn't fit with what we've been taught. That means we're going against the wisdom that we've been given. We're going against common sense, against the experience of those who have come and gone before us. We take these teachings and think that we know better, so we do our own thing...and it knocks the world out of balance. It knocks our lives out of harmony. We can't just do our own thing, nor do we need to. So many of us spend our time trying to re-invent the wheel when we ought to just be driving. 

Overstepped decrees indicates a refusal to submit to authority. Well, to submit fully. You see, it's always someone in authority who issues a decree. They're the ones who get to decide what to do and how to do it and to what degree to engage in something. When we overstep this, we take that authority into our own hands and do more than we're permitted to do. Again, we're trying to do our own thing, this time with a starting point of being told we can do something...but we take it to mean we can do anything we want

The breaking of the permanent covenant is all about fidelity. It's about keeping faithfulness. Imagine a marriage where one spouse is absolutely perfect, incredibly loving, attentive, sensitive, everything...yet the other chooses not to stay. One remains married; one does not - there is no longer a marriage. We cannot walk away from a marriage that God intends to stay in without calling ourselves divorcees, yet we are unwilling to be honest about it. Most of us think that we can walk however far away we want, since God will always love us anyway and will be there when we come back...just to walk away again. That's not a covenant; it's a game. And our lack of fidelity poisons our world. Just as we are unfaithful with God, we are unfaithful with each other. It's just no good.

So here we are with three guides for good living - wisdom, proper authority/submission, fidelity. When these things get out of whack, the world gets dirty. It's polluted. It affects everything.

It did in Isaiah's day, and it does in ours.

Maybe the climate isn't changing so much after all, but know this - it wasn't supposed to be this way. 

No comments:

Post a Comment