According to their own dictates

By Johnny O. Trail — Humankind made the decision to follow after its own way from the dawn of creation. When Adam and Eve violated God’s will regarding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when they partook of it, from that time down to this very age, human beings conduct themselves as if God and His commands make absolutely no difference.

God’s longsuffering with the Israelites was coming to an end. Jeremiah 7:23-26 says, “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.” No reasonable person could look at God’s relationship with Israel and accuse God of not being patient with them. The Jews had no excuses, and they were about to be taken into Babylonian captivity.

One major reason for their impending destruction was their desire to follow after their own dictates. Jeremiah 7:24 (NKJV) says,“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” The word “dictates” is defined as “to rule over or make decisions for others with absolute authority, or attempt to do so.” Thus, one concludes that the rebellious nation of Israel wanted to make decisions over God “with absolute authority.”

To a great extent, the sin of idolatry led them down this pathway (Jeremiah 7.6, 9). When one supplants the rightful place of God in their life, it becomes easy to make decisions against God’s precepts with “absolute authority.” Our time is very much like Jeremiah’s in regards to how humankind makes decisions.

People in this time live as if they are the absolute moral and spiritual authority in their own life and in the lives of other people. It is bad enough to remove God from our decision-making processes, but many people compound the problem by presuming to circumvent God’s word and contradict clear teachings of scripture. Philippians 2.12 says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” That is, one is to examine God’s statutes and determine if he has fulfilled the requirements for obtaining salvation (Hebrews 5.8-9).

Idolatry and poor decision-making go hand-in-hand according to God’s word. Romans 1.21-25 says,

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

Even though these passages refer to the Gentiles, those under the Old Testament Law made poor decisions under the influence of idolatry.

In an age where we pretend to be scientifically enlightened and intelligent, it seems that people are turning away from Jehovah God and relying upon other things. The god of evolution has falsely convinced many that the Bible is flawed and incorrect regarding the origination of human beings. Militant atheists have attempted to shame and attack Christians for acknowledging that God does exist. Certain environmentalists have determined that human beings are at the apex of our planet’s environmental problems and need to be eliminated. Various individuals in our society have determined that man is not at the top of the “animal kingdom,” and animals should have the same rights and protections of human beings. Political correctness has determined that anything biblical or Christian in nature is not to be tolerated, because God’s word reveals the truth about so many immoral behaviors in our world today. Our “tolerant” culture tolerates anything but being told that it is wrong. Thus, moral degradation continues on its downward spiral.

The prophet Isaiah had something to say about this very thing. Isaiah 5:20-21 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” The comprehensive wisdom of our world from the beginning of time until the return of Jesus will not begin to measure up to even the foolishness of God. I Corinthians 1.25 says, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

When humankind walks according to its own dictates, the result is failure and calamity. In our effort to grope about in the darkness to find direction as a society, we have walked away from the light and embraced destruction. John 3:19-21 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” As God’s people, we should always seek His direction.

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