— By REV. LOU TISCIONE
You don’t often see “woe” used in an article. It’s a word that has fallen out of usage in our day. But it’s a word that ought to be understood and taken seriously.
Woe is used in Scripture to convey a dire warning. It usually precedes God’s judgment. Isaiah 5:20 has led me to reflect on some current issues: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
God was issuing a warning to His people for their abusive and oppressive behavior towards their brothers. More specifically, God was directing His “woe” against the leaders of His people.
The book of Isaiah comprehensively covers God’s judgment and salvation. Chapter 5 was addressed to God’s “vineyard,” His chosen people. God sought justice and righteousness within His people and found none! God’s indictment of wicked people continued. They are described as oppressive, self-serving, unjust and liars. The “woe” quoted from verse 5 is repeated five more times in Chapter 5.
God expects His people to know good from evil. He expects His people to follow “the good.” “The good” is that which is morally and ethically right. The ultimate source of “the good” is God. He has revealed “the good” in His word. “He has told you, O man, what is good.” (Micah 6:8a)
We also have God’s promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him, those whom He has called, Romans 8:28.
The Bible was written to believers but it applies to all people. God does not have a sliding scale. He doesn’t grade on a curve. “All must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthans 5:10)
I recently heard a call upon God to bless an organization called Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood claims that they operate for the interest of women’s health. The founder of Planned Parenthood believed in eugenics shaped by her belief in evolution. Eugenics is the attempt to improve the species through genetic control.
In the case of Margaret Sanger, improvement of the species would come by removing the less desirable members of society, such as minorities and the disabled. One of the tools she advocated for improvement was abortion another was sterilization of minority women. The following quote of Margaret Sanger summarized her philosophy: “More children from the fit, less from the unfit – that is the chief aim of birth control,” (Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12). Praising Planned Parenthood is asking God to bless that which is evil.
As a result of our sinfulness both believers and unbelievers often have a difficult time in discerning “the good.” Believers always appeal to the word of God and pray for the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit to guide our discernment. (Psalm 119:105)
Issues of human life do not fall in the category of ethical confusion. We need not wonder what the “good” course is. God is for life! Those who would call death good are close to falling under the “woes” that Isaiah declared.
I am called to be a minister of the gospel. I am an ordained pastor. Yet, in this I am simply writing as a man who believes the risen Lord Jesus. I have been made a new creation by the sovereign grace of God. He has caused me to see the truth and the beauty of Christ. As a member of His family, I am obligated to declare the truth and live under His word. I dare not bless what God curses! I dare not remain silent when evil is called good.
I read somewhere that for evil to succeed, all that is necessary is for good men to be silent. I am not good in the sight of God. I am a sinner. God alone is good and He expects me to stand for that which He has sanctified, namely human life. There is no middle ground when it comes to standing for the sanctity of human life. May we who know the truth, ask God’s blessing on that which is good and speak openly for the sanctity of human life!
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)