Crooked Paths

06/23/2022

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

Abraham Lincoln
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy,
that it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.   Isaiah 59:1-2

The above verses are God’s response through the prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel about their complaint that He is not hearing their prayers / petitions and that their fasting is for nothing (see Isaiah 58:3). But Isaiah reveals that God is not dull of hearing or impotent. It is the sin of the people that is the hinderance to God responding to their requests. Psalm 66:18 states: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. Psalm 66:18

In the follow-up verses (Isaiah 59:3-8) Isaiah articulates that the society had degenerated into daily immorality and lawlessness among the common people where genuine truth and justice is no longer upheld. That there is blood on the hands of the people, their minds are quick to conceive evil, violence reigns and the most chilling is that they made haste to shed innocent blood. Their behavior is characterized by God through Isaiah as the “crooked path” of life where those who choose that way will not know peace.

They have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Isaiah 59:8b

Although the context of this Scripture is directed at the nation of Israel as a society, a universal principle here can be applied to nations, communities and individuals; sin is a barrier not only to God hearing prayer but also His blessings. The spiritual consequences of living the crooked path is that God will turn His face away from those who walk it, blessings will dwindle and inner peace will allude the heart. The natural consequences when sin and iniquity rule invariably leads to the disintegration of order, harmony and the eventual breakdown of a society whether at the family level or nationally.

As of this writing our nation is increasingly experiencing the effects of the crooked path. Mass violence is becoming commonplace. Criminals are allowed to steal, pillage and loot without appropriate prosecution and justice. What used to be absolutes and biologically true is now turned upside down so that confusion and ambiguity dictates the law of the land. People march and rage in the streets to justify the right to shed the innocent blood of the unborn while we publicly celebrate and affirm immoral and unnatural behavior. When we as a people, society or nation approve and legislate the behavior of the crooked path, God’s peace and favor shall be withheld ultimately leading to societal disintegration.

A recent survey revealed 70% of college age people say there are no moral absolutes. Many see God’s moral laws as irrelevant which is not surprising as a Gallup poll also revealed most Americans dismiss the authority of the Ten Commandments. Ultimately the state of a free nation, its governance and perpetuity rests on the backs of the people’s recognition of God’s authority and willingness to walk according to those spiritual and moral laws. Because we have been created in the image of God, the violation of those laws is not only a reproach to God but a violation of self and who we were created to be.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

President Abraham Lincoln on August 12, 1861, courageously called for a National Day of Fasting for the great and mighty storm of the Civil War that was upon our nation. He recognized the peril of the nation and implored the citizens to humbly turn to the One true God. Here is an excerpt from that proclamation and a link to the full Proclamation:

And whereas it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action:

Another great and mighty storm is upon us as a nation and a people. But where are the calls from our current leaders and pulpits to return to the Lord God? Where are the men of courage like Lincoln willing to speak truth and men like Isaiah willing to speak God’s Word unashamedly? To our shame, most pulpits and leaders are ambivalent or even worse silent about the path of our nation.

Until there is a change of heart at all levels which results in a change in behavior away from the crooked path, genuine peace will allude us and we will see further breakdown of our families, culture and nation leading to its demise.

But the Lord God of heaven always has an ear to hear one prayer; that being the prayer of repentance from a contrite heart. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.  Acts 3:17-21