May 16, 2009


Isaiah 5:18-24

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil …
Isaiah 5:20


During World War II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an artillery officer in the Soviet army, dared to write a few critical remarks about Stalin in a letter to a friend. Military censors caught the note and sent him to Siberia for years of hard labor in the dreaded Gulag Archipelago, a string of concentration camps scattered like islands across nine time zones. On the way to the frozen north by train, Solzhenitsyn was deliberately assigned to a box car with the most brutal of criminals. The communists thought such criminals were better than people like Solzhenitsyn because they preyed on the rich and supposedly distributed money more evenly throughout society. This was one way in which communism turned things upside down, calling evil good and good evil.

Long before communism, Paul pointed out people’s tendency to turn things upside down: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

People in our day coo at their poodles and kill their babies. They worship celebrities and ignore God. Men and women exchange natural relations for unnatural, and call it good. Terror is taught as a pious duty. Like King Midas, people love gold and neglect their loved ones. This is the topsy-turvy world in which we call people to turn back to God.

Help us, O God, to stay on track when society all around us is flying upside down. Help us to focus on Christ alone. Give us the wisdom to discern between good and evil. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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