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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 07 April 2016

TRUTH FALLS IN THE STREET

By Jim Jordal

  Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness can't enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Yahweh saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.                                                                            Isa. 59:14-15 WEB

In this poignant passage the prophet Isaiah speaking for God acknowledges the many sins of his people. He relates how justice is turned backward as righteousness stands far off; how truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness or common morality cannot enter.

You’ll comprehend some of the eternal truths of Isaiah’s prophetic travail if you ponder the awful political spectacle now unfolding in our land. We watch as the presidential primaries and caucuses march onward toward apocalypse---not so much in the sense of violence or war, but in the revelation of the lost-ness of our culture and the triumph of fear and hopelessness entrapping hordes of our citizens.

How do justice and righteousness get “turned away backward” in a democratic republic like ours? It’s simply the direct result of faulty logic and skewed morals offered to the public by many prominent and vital institutions. Politically, we have elected legislative bodies torn apart by partisanship and open conflict, no longer able to rationally and fairly discuss national issues. We have political parties that have turned serious national issues into personal tirades and selfish squabbles. We have think tanks, but too often they offer already-failed policies effective only at enhancing the bank accounts of their already-rich supporters.

Then we have economic institutions like the giant multi-national corporations who reduce taxes by moving their headquarters to foreign countries with lower tax rates. They loudly proclaim their undying allegiance to free markets and the American Way while they devastate the working classes with layoffs and broken retirement plans.

And let’s not forget the major denominational religious institutions who also play a role in negating righteousness and justice. Mostly because of tradition, they ignore clear truths of Scriptures regarding justice, oppression, mercy and truth. God gave us the law, prophets, apostles and Christ Himself to point the way, but we heed only part of his message because of our fear, tradition, and tendency to turn all faith into personal piety.

How does truth fall in the street? The term “street” could also be defined as broad roadways or public places where people gather. Truth falls in the street as equity, or straightforward speech, is avoided by people campaigning for office in their strained attempts to “be all things to all people,” and to at all costs avoid being seen as politically incorrect. Thus we have the game of “liars tennis” with untruths and half-truths being served up in the hope that the opponent will be unable to quickly or accurately respond.

Truth also falls in the street when people charged with fairly reporting public issues become overly enamored of their ratings and advertiser good will and become tempted to shade or twist the truth. Public authorities refusing to face and act upon truth engender such debacles as the recent Flint, Michigan water problem where truth became the victim of a political philosophy seemingly aimed at cutting costs more than protecting the public.

And how does it happen that “he who departs from evil makes himself a prey”? Many times I’ve heard voters complain about the dearth of qualified, scrupulously honest leaders in the national political scene. People ask, “Where have they gone?” It seems to me that they haven’t gone anywhere, but are unwilling to risk their reputations in the slimy mess that currently replaces political debate.

And what happens when God sees enough evil to become angry at the absence of justice in the land?

The entire 59th chapter of Isaiah is a litany of national separation from God, followed by national confusion and a darkness of soul. We become frustrated as evil grows, but God keeps reminding us that although we look for justice, there is none because “our sins testify against us.”

When the American public finally reaches the apocalyptic revelation that it’s our sin of refusing to incorporate into our political, economic, social, and religious institutions the values of righteousness, justice, truth, and mercy that stands between us and God, then things will dramatically and quickly change as God comes to the rescue.

And you have a role in this epiphany! Use whatever opportunities you have to speak truth to power by quietly insisting on truth in whatever institutions you belong to. You don’t need to fight; just be reasonable and kind in your efforts and you’ll begin to see what God can do.