Pastors Report - 18 Jul 2020
Righteous Wisdom

Cutting Through the Chaos:

O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces... (Daniel 9:7)

We find ourselves living today in a world the likes of which none of us have ever experienced in our lifetime. Daily we are being given advice that is often contradictory to that given the previous day and are being forced to make major and also far-reaching decisions on fluctuating circumstances. Such decisions include the possibility of enforced vaccinations – perhaps using vaccines which have been rushed through without the normal safeguards – yet they may be insisted upon if we want to keep our jobs or have our children educated; the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places; contact tracing; loss of employment on a massive scale leading to the spectre of a Depression, the severity of which has reportedly not been experienced for 300 years.

So how do we navigate through this turmoil in a godly way? The key is to seek for the righteous wisdom of God Himself, the only One who truly knows "the end from the beginning" ... which is probably the most vital concept we need to cut through this 'Gordian knot' that we face.

  • Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:10)
In The Beginning, God...

This ability to see the end from the beginning with great clarity is magnificently illustrated when we consider the range of possibilities that God must have been faced with at the beginning of the creative process. This initial creation of the universe was far from random in nature. In fact, the mathematician Sir Roger Penrose has calculated that "the Creator's aim must have been accurate to one part in 10 to the power of 10 123 ...a number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job". (God's Undertaker, John C. Lennox page 71)

So how did He do it? Obviously we don't know the details but applying the principle within this verse of "declaring the end from the beginning", it is clear – as the mathematician and theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson put it – "The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming." Undoubtedly God, in fixing the various constants that govern the precise structure and organisation of all that we see, did so with a clear goal in mind. In this way He was able to cut through the potential chaos of the myriad of other possible universe specifications to select the precise one required.

God's Purpose:

On the two occasions of creation mentioned in Genesis – both when the heavens and earth were initially created as well as the time He corrected the tohu and bohu following Satan's rebellion – God had the same end result in mind. In both instances, He'd planned for beings made in His image, spirit-born sons, who would be able to stand in awe and wonder at the stunning creation they would see all around them. As Mr. Armstrong brought out in a sermon...

Now the greatest subject in all of the universe is God's purpose. God and the Word lived. I've discussed how They lived a number of times. But They lived. And if They lived, They must have lived for some purpose. In the book "The Seven Laws of Success" I have written that the first law of success in this life is having the right goal. Well, do you know that God has that right goal? God's purpose. That is the first law in God's life -- His purpose. That is His goal, what He intends to accomplish. God is looking down through the stream of time. God has ALWAYS existed. God always WILL exist! And He's looking into the far, far, far future -- forever; and He's thinking ahead. What is His purpose? What is His goal? What is He trying to achieve? What is His purpose? The Bible says His purpose shall stand, and it will! His purpose shall be accomplished. ( "Hungering for God's Righteousness" 11 June 1983)
Godly Wisdom:

In every facet of the creation – from the grandeur of a starlit night of the Milky Way, to the exquisite molecular machines that quite literally keep us all alive, to the superb coherence in every living thing around us – we can't help but stand in awe of the wisdom involved in even thinking up such a creation, let alone actually constructing it. And it is clearly designed to produce that effect. It exists as it is to have mankind recognise the eternal power and godhead of the One who created it. As Solomon – with all his wisdom – observed:

  • Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
  • She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
  • She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors...
  • ...The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
  • I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
  • When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
  • Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
  • While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
  • When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
  • When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
  • When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
  • Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
  • Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:1-3,22-31)
Satanic Wisdom:

Both in creating and re-creating the world God's focus was to give the kind of life He enjoyed to us all. His entire expression was one of outgoing concern – love, if you will – to eventually share existence with multiple billions of beings like Him ... this was the "end from the beginning" in God's mind.

And this was Satan's problem. He was initially created "perfect in wisdom until iniquity was found in him", but his "end" changed from that which was the same as God's to something that was totally self-centred, self-absorbed and as recorded in Isaiah and Ezekiel, led to an attempted coup – with one third of the angels, having corrupted their wisdom also.

  • Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty...
  • ...Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: (Ezekiel 28:12,17)

This change of focus – from outgoing concern to incoming selfishness, by reason of his brightness – was the crucial step that changed his very character to a deranged form of wisdom. But this isn't restricted to Satan and his demons, by any means. It is something that can be recognised throughout the 6000 year history of mankind as well, and we can expect it to increase as we approach the greatest time of trouble the world has ever seen.

  • But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
  • This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
  • For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:14-16)

This is undoubtedly why we witness so much insanity in the judgements of the world today as humanity has eagerly tapped into Satan's brand of "wisdom". Not only are the blind leading the blind, but wickedness is so often being actively promoted and encouraged (graphically described in the first chaper of Romans) – and those that try to stem the tide can easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law, something that is brought out vividly in this prophecy from Isaiah 59:

  • In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
  • And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
  • Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. (Isaiah 59:13-15)

Just this week a resignation letter was sent to the New York Times that illustrates this unrighteous intolerance. It was written by Bari Weiss, a journalist deliberately brought in to try to balance out the rank bias within the newspaper. Here are some excepts from her letter:

[A] new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else... My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist... New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action... If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets ... All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril... ( bariweiss.com)

And to illustrate the utter confusion brought about by the fluid nature of so much of the legislation being brought in regarding the pandemic, this letter – somewhat "tongue in cheek" – appeared in The Guardian newspaper in the UK a couple of weeks ago:

Now let me see if I've got this right. Single people can only be in a bubble with one other household, but bigger households can meet with numerous other households and can stay overnight, but must stay two metres apart. And you can go into a pub as long as you stay two metres apart, unless you can't stay two metres apart, then you must stay one-plus metres apart. You can go up to the counter in a shop, but not in a pub or restaurant. You have to give your name and address if you go to a pub, but not in a shop. You have to wear a mask on a bus, but not in a shop (not sure about pubs). You can have your hair cut from 4 July but not your nails painted or your legs waxed.

But that's only in England. It's completely different in Scotland or Northern Ireland. You can't go to Wales, but you can go to Spain, but you can't go out for two weeks when you come back. So just remind me; are we still supposed to be washing our hands? ( theguardian.com)

And so much of what the writer brought out at that time has radically changed in the couple of weeks from publication till now! But even more serious is the chaotic legislation we are witnessing that reflects the lack of moral fibre in society. This comment on the end-time-world from the apostle Paul could have been written yesterday, it is so apt to what we see around us each day:

  • Understand that the last days will be dangerous times.
  • People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy,
  • unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won't love what is good.
  • They will be people who are disloyal, reckless, and conceited. They will love pleasure instead of loving God. (II Timothy 3:1-4 CEB)
Righteous Wisdom:

As an ageing church – with many if not most of us now in our 70's and 80's – even ignoring end-time events for a moment, we find ourselves approaching the end of this physical chemical existence. At the same time the world around us appears to be heading in the same direction. It too, is approaching its 'end of life' and at this pivotal time in history Matthew 24 directs us to take careful note of what is said in Daniel – specifically being told to understand what we read there and then tying the passage to the time it will prove necessary to flee from Judaea.

  • When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
  • Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:15,16)

Obviously there is a great deal said in the book of Daniel, but the specific area that is being referred to in Matthew 24 is the establishing of the abomination that makes desolate – explained by Luke 21:20 to be the armies that surround Jerusalem. Further exhortation is given as an addendum in verse 15 of Matthew, where we are told "whoso reads, let him understand". This points us very firmly to the closing verses of Daniel 12 and specifically to verse 10, which stresses the importance of wisdom – and particularly righteous wisdom – if we are indeed to "understand".

  • And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
  • And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
  • Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
  • And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
  • Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
  • But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:8-13)
The Present Chaos:

In recognising the prophetic significance of this present time, the chaos we see all around us undoubtedly won't stay static, but sadly is destined to get worse. So in order to survive even this prelude to the time of Jacob's trouble, we need a certain mental and spiritual resilience based on righteousness.

Unlike the god of this world it's vital therefore that "the end" we seek – to be the spirit-born sons of the Living God – is kept in the forefront of our present thinking. Doing so will undoubtedly prove to be the only sword capable of cutting through the Gordian knot of chaotic end-time events that are coming. What we all need at this pivotal time of history is the very wisdom of God Himself, and that wisdom not only keeps the crucial "end point" in mind but also – because it flows from the Holy Spirit – will produce truly righteous fruit in our lives in the process.

The apostle James describes such godly wisdom and the peace and stability it brings – diametrically opposed to what we are currently witnessing – and something we certainly need to be developing if we, in turn, are to be used to bring peace and stability to this chaotic and suffering world when our own day dawns:

  • Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
  • But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
  • This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
  • For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
  • But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
  • And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:13-18)