Thursday, September 14, 2006

The present evil age...

Today I have just a couple of scattered thoughts on the text. Isaiah 17.7-8 says:
In that day men will look to their Maker
and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
They will not look to the altars,
the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
and the incense altars their fingers have made.
I want to claim this for the people of Japan.
(As I write this, our small team is here in Tokyo on a prayer/vision trip; the trip log is at
As we have visited various places of Buddhist and Shinto worship, we've seen people praying to the false gods, the lying spirits that have kept Japan in captivity for millennia. We've seen the incense altars, the temples of wood and stone, concrete and steel. There are some huge edifices, impressive feats of engineering. And they're a disaster for those who trust in them, as the psalms tell us:
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
Psalm 135.15-18
The Japanese people as a whole seem to understand that the world is not only what we can see; they know that the spiritual world is real and not "just superstition." The tragic thing is that they are victims of these lying spirits and false gods.

We are also victims in the States, but victims of other lying spirits and different false gods. We Americans usually "believe in" philosophical materialism, that is, that the material world is all there is. Whether this drives us into a desperate frenzy to collect more toys or to reject the gods of Acquisition, our materialism and extreme individualism also enslaves us.

And so when I see in Galatians 1.4 that Jesus gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, I think, "Amen! This is an evil age we live in." Whether in affluent, technologically advanced countries like Japan or the US, under corrupt or repressive regimes as rule many other nations, or in crushing poverty, there is much about the present age that is evil and that we need saving from.

But as a human being, as a man and especially as an American, I don't like admitting that I need saving.

So help me today, Lord, to call upon you, to abide in you and to invite you to abide in me.

posted a little before 9am Thursday Sept 14 in Japan (about 5pm 9/13 Pacific)

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