I began writing these letters in the beginning of the 2020 Quarantine as a way to stay connected with you, knowing that some would not be able to join us on our social media platforms. It has produced in me some questions that I had not thought about in the past. It is apparent that crisis and conflict make us think differently. This being the case, I have come to the conclusion that religion and morality, which at one time were without a doubt married, are now in some churches on the verge of divorce, or it may already be the case. We just did not see the notice in the newspapers.
You are certainly made aware that some generations in ages past have been more religious at times than other generations. I have heard of elected leaders of states and cities, asking for prayers, whose way of governing is an obvious divorce from morality. Isaiah lived in a time like this, and he opens the book that bears his name with a shocking prophetic word. Isaiah, Chapter 1, gives us a glimpse of what the prophet Isaiah saw going on in the most religious of all cultures. (THIS WILL BE A LITTLE LENGTHY BUT YOU COULD LET IT BE YOUR BIBLE READING FOR THE DAY.)
GOD HAS HAD ENOUGH - ISAIAH CHAPTER ONE
10. “Hear the word of the Lord [rulers of Jerusalem], you rulers of (ANOTHER) Sodom, listen to the law and instruction of our God, you people of (ANOTHER) Gomorrah.
11. What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me [without your repentance]? Says the Lord. I have had enough of [your] burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed cattle [without your obedience]; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls or lambs or goats [offered without repentance].
12. When you come to appear before Me, who requires this of you, this trampling of My [temple] courts [by your sinful feet]?
13. Do not bring worthless offerings again, [Your] incense is repulsive to Me; [Your] New Moon and Sabbath [observances], the calling of assemblies - I cannot endure wickedness [your sin, your injustice, your wrongdoing] and [the squalor of] the festive assembly.
14. I hate [the hypocrisy of] your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts. They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.
15. So when you spread out your hands [in prayer, pleading for My help], I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you offer many prayers, I will not be listening. Your hands are full of blood!
16. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Get your evil deeds out of My sight. Stop doing evil,
17. Learn to do good. Seek justice, Rebuke the ruthless, defend the fatherless, plead for the [rights of the] widow [in court]. Let Us Reason.
18. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.
19. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the best of the land;
20. But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Zion corrupted, to be Redeemed.
21. How the faithful city has become a prostitute [idolatrous, despicable], she who was full of justice! Right standing with God once lodged in her, but now murderers.
22. Your silver has turned to lead, your wine is diluted with water.
23. Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes and chases after gifts. They do
not defend the fatherless, nor does the widow’s cause come before them [instead they delay or turn a deaf ear.
24. Therefore the Lord God of hosts, The Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah, I will be freed of My adversaries and avenge Myself on My enemies.
25. And I will turn My hand against you and will [thoroughly] purge away your dross as with lye and remove all your tin (impurity).
26. Then I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning; Afterward you will be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
27. Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.”
I KNOW THIS IS LONGER THAN MY OTHER LETTERS, BUT I HAVE FELT A COMPUNCTION OF CONSCIENCE TO MAKE AN OVER EMPHASIS OF WHAT WE MAY BE OVERLOOKING i.e., WHAT IS REALLY TAKING PLACE IN OUR CULTURE TODAY, WHAT I BELIEVE IS A DIVORCE RELIGION AND MORALITY.
A question begs an answer, “What will happen to a nation whose leaders have lost their conscience in re- gard to morality or who change the definition of morality to accommodate their personal lifestyles?” Would you agree that we could become jaded and calloused? Is the connection between morality and religion as evident as it once was?
Can you say with me, that religion and morality need marriage counseling? The fruit of good religion produces good morals. What Isaiah the prophet did for his generation was proclaim what needs to be proclaimed today in the market places and higher courts of the world i.e., “Once again, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC MORALITY ARE CONNECTED IN A MANNER THAT SHOULD NEVER BE SEPARATED”. God, through His chosen people, made this clear; and what He has joined together let no man put asunder.
I leave you with this question: Will God hear the prayers of those who regard iniquity in their heart?
I believe in you and my prayers are with you today. In closing this letter, I need to say, “I have never felt so much like a watchman on the wall than I did as I wrote this letter”.
Your loving pastors, Cleddie and GayNell Keith