Do not call conspiracy

FortressOne of the things that I detest about “talk” radio is the need for the host to drum up controversy to get people to listen. This seems to be true whether the subject be politics, sports or religion.

This is painfully obvious in political talk radio from either spectrum, left or right. The central theme of the broadcast is to convince you that life will come to an end if the other party gains or remains in control.

Prominent “Christian spokesmen” fall prey to this phenomenon and get exercised over the latest piece of legislation or social trend. They urge letter writing campaigns and boycotts as the solution to societal ills. Whether it be intentional or not, they play to our fears to spur us to action in their cause.

While we are called to be salt and light in a fallen world, I struggle to find any indication in Scripture that we need to be frantic in our efforts to counteract the trends in society.

While the Apostle Paul has strong opinions and speaks authoritatively on subjects concerning the church, he is strangely silent on ideas of political involvement or societal reform. When he mentions the government at all, it is with a reminder to obey the governing authorities because they are put in place by God.

The danger is that we can allow fear to cause us to lose sight of the fact that God remains in control and is moving history toward his own end, following his own time-line. Like Peter foundering in the waves, when we take our eyes off of God, panic can set in.

I like the words that God spoke to Isaiah:

For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken. (Isaiah 8:11–15, ESV)

We don’t need to fear what the government will or won’t do. We do not need to be in dread of the social trends around us. We don’t need to be worried about the latest conspiracy or scandal.

The promise is that if we fear God and honor him as holy, he will become a sanctuary to us. It is from this sanctuary that we can then become effective salt and light and have a positive impact on the culture.