Isaiah and the Liberal



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  • Isaiah and the Liberal

    The Bible is a long form lens into human nature. We should not ignore the fact that the God's Word is a direct commentary on the pervasive temptations and sins of humanity. The first part of Isaiah chapter 32 speaks of a future time when the Lord will right wrongs that exist in societies. It is a chapter about political rulers. It begins with a description of the archetypical righteous King, the Messiah whose reign will bring unprecedented blessings, peace, and security.

    From Isaiah 32:5-8 we can read:

    "5) The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl (means “a rude, ill-bred person.”) said to be bountiful. 6) For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail 7) The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. 8) But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand."
    Isaiah’s use of this description at the beginning before describing the corruption of political rulers is a literary comparison of extremes to make descriptions of each more vivid. This wickedness and corruption describe both ancient Israel and the latter days, with the earlier condition providing a type for the latter. Isaiah points out that the Lord will reign in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1) and mankind will no longer be blinded by sin (Isaiah 32:3-4). Verse 5 describes the ending of twisted values characteristic of the latter days. These parallel phrases emphasize true definitions of words that have been confused in our day. The Hebrew word translated as “liberal” means “noble” or “generous.” The dictionary definition of “liberal” is “honorable, noble, gracious, generous.” Isaiah foresees a time when leaders who have noble titles but who in reality are vile, churlish, avaricious, deceitful or foolish or are cheaters will no longer be called liberal or bountiful.

    In verse 6, Isaiah provides a simple key for recognizing evil leaders—by their actions rather than their lofty titles. The Hebrew word translated as “villainy” means “senseless folly” or “obscenity.” Verse 7 continues Isaiah’s exposition begun in verse 6 on how to distinguish a wicked ruler. Using archaic words—means that corrupt rulers with avaricious or evil intentions devise schemes to deceive, using carefully measured or lying words. How striking is Isaiah’s description of evil rulers of our time! They use the pretense of caring for the needy to amass political power, but they destroy the poor with lying words. Verse 8 provides the contrasting truth: Liberality is a personal quality greatly valued by the Lord. The true leader, recognizing what is expected of a worthy leader, measures up to expectations.

    The vile can be considered liberal in the sense that the person is unrestrained, ignores the essentials of being literal and strict to a certain extent, too broad-minded without setting the important limits. In God's own definition, to be liberal is to be generous and open-minded but not compromising God's moral standards. God Himself is a liberal in the sense He extends His arms open wide to all but they must come to Him (John 5:40). There are those who stand behind the worldly definition of liberal, and it is those God calls vile.

    The first and ultimate liberal was and is Satan who was the light bearer in a positive sense, but became prince of darkness in the negative sense. While he was originally a conservative servant of God, he went insane from liberalism and so now wants to tear down pervert everything that is good and wise. It began with his rebellion, and has continued by deceived humanity ever since. We live in a very liberal world, but that is going to cease when the Messiah returns to establish the Kingdom of God.

    I am not trying to advocate politics with this post, although there is a sharp edge around the subject. It is clear that politics has descended to the level of gang warfare with political parties being the gangs involved. The modern liberal protagonists in the sense of being profane are vile. By definition! We also need to examine whether modern conservative protagonists who are profane qualify for the same assessment, including in the terms meant by the above passages. By definition, they are. Liberals today are justly suspected of affections that are seditious and Conservatives of affections that are tyrannical. These affections, of course, are at opposite extremes from the center of life, which is love, the fostering of which requires both liberality and conservation, both extrinsic and intrinsic activity.

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