An Upside-Down World

August 22, 2022

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…” Isaiah 5:20

“The world has changed. I see it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it in the air.” J.R.R Tolkien

The 2001 movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, begins with these ominous words, signaling the rise of evil in the fictional world of Middle-Earth.

But it’s not just Middle-Earth that’s changed, is it?  

The real world has changed too. We, along with Mr. Tolkien, can “smell it in the air.” 

It’s like the world has turned upside-down. What’s wrong is called right. What’s moral is thought of as immoral.  And truth, logic, and common sense? Well, they seem to be long, lost relics of the past. 

This crazy, ever-darkening world can make us long for the ‘good ole days.’ 

Yet, if there’s one thing our verse from Isaiah teaches us, it’s that the ‘good ole days’ never existed. There’s nothing new under the sun.  Even in Isaiah’s day, people called evil good and preferred darkness over light.  

Since the Garden of Eden, where we rebelled against God’s rightful authority, we’ve attempted to establish our own standards of right and wrong, good and evil. On the whole, society has pushed God and His Word out of the picture. And as a result, we live in a moral free-for-all where anything goes (as long as you don’t impose your morality on someone else).  

But just because culture labels evil as good doesn’t make it so.

Pastor Charles Stanley reminds us,

“When God calls something evil in His Word, it is evil. Period. He is our absolute authority.” 

While we see it this way as Christians, the outside world doesn’t share our perspective.

We mustn’t point fingers. If anything, we should point them inward, not outward. 

You see, Isaiah’s words were not aimed at pagan culture but at the people of God, his fellow Israelites.  In fact, this is one of six “woes” that he proclaimed to God’s people, repeatedly denouncing how far they had drifted off course (Isaiah 5:8, 11,18, 20, 21, & 22). 

This is a sobering wake-up call. 

For when it comes to twisting God’s standards, inventing our own guidelines of right and wrong, and turning God’s truth upside-down, every one of us is guilty. There are no exceptions. We’re all in the same, big boat.

Personally, I find this verse from Isaiah deeply convicting.

Be honest:

Isn’t there an area (or two) of your life where you’re tempted to call “evil good” and put “darkness for light?” 

You see, the problem isn’t just out there in the big, bad world. The problem resides in us, too. 

Furthermore, shouldn’t we expect a lost world to act…well, lost?

But as people of God, we should know better. This is what makes Isaiah’s words so tragic. 

Fortunately, there is wonderful news for a broken world and for God’s wayward children. Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Here’s some advice for the day ahead:

  1. Run humbly to the Great Physician and confess how the sickness of sin has invaded your heart.
  2. Run humbly to a broken world with a renewed passion to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).

After all, this isn’t fiction. There’s a real world out there that desperately needs a Savior. 

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH