jeudi 26 juin 2014

Who do we trust? (Isaiah 47:10-13)

In today’s reading we discover that Babylon has placed her trust in evil, and in turn evil will come upon her. (The NIV's “wickedness” at the start of verse 10, and “disaster” at the start of verse 11 both translate the same Hebrew word). She has got used to using her wealth to ward off catastrophes (verse 11) and believes that her skill in foreseeing that future that will allow her to both predict and prevent them – but in reality neither money nor religion will be of any ultimate help. Verses 12 and 13 drip with sarcasm as the prophet ridicules Babylon’s reliance on astrologers. The prophet may appear to be addressing Babylon, but his real audience is the people of Judah, who must be constantly be reminded that Babylonian religion is false and cannot help them, despite its all-pervasive presence and apparent power. Indeed the trustworthiness of the Lord compared with the futility of idols is one of the prophet’s recurring themes.

This passage raises the question of where we put our trust. Few Christians believe in astrology, and we are unlikely to deliberately trust wickedness or evil. But, like the exiles in Babylon, we may unthinkingly adopt the values of the society we live in. Money, education, hard-work, and family are all highly valued by our culture, and none are evil in themselves. However, we miss the point when we place all of our reliance in them and let them become idols, as many people discover when faced with unexpected unemployment, sickness or family breakdown.

Like Babylon, we learn our values from childhood onwards. Where were you taught to put your trust as a child? What effect does this have on your life today? If you have children, or are involved in teaching or youth work, what are you teaching your young people? Is God challenging you to make any changes?

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