Vol.XVII No.VII Pg.4
September 1980

"It Is Not In Man"

Robert F. Turner

When Micaiah was told to prophesy those things which would please the King of Israel, he answered "As Jehovah liveth, what Jehovah saith unto me, that will I speak" (1 Ki. 22:14)- Isaiah refused to listen to the people when urged to "prophesy not right things, speak unto us smooth things" — he was a spokesman for God (Is. 30:10). And Joshua, standing before the nation of Israel, declared "As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah" (Josh. 24:15).

These men, and others, serve to remind us of a characteristic of true followers of God. It is a trait portrayed by such men as John the Baptizer and Stephen — who lost their lives for speaking the truth. Peter, who declared, "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29), also possessed this characteristic — as did Paul, who wrote, "we also believe, and therefore also we speak" (2 Cor. 4:13). The characteristic I refer to is conviction.

Conviction, a characteristic once prevalent among Christians and our nation, is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We are told by "scholars" of our day that there is no absolute truth, particularly in the religious and moral realm. We are urged to adopt a philosophy that replaces "thus saith the Lord" with "it's right if you think it's right." It is a philosophy which exalts man and places him in the realm of determining truth; of dictating what is right or wrong. And the results are far from beneficial.

In the area of child-rearing, parents are urged to keep spiritual and moral training to a minimum — much better, say the psychologists, to let children "decide for themselves" when they are old enough. Teenagers are advised to engage in pre-marital sex only "if it's right for them." Some marriage counselors encourage extra marital relationships to "strengthen' marriages. And if it doesn't work out, couples can always get a divorce — if that's what they want. Even in the realm of religion, the Bible is referred to as "a suggested way of life — and this is the heart of the entire problem.

Many in our nation are filled with anguish and overcome with despair because they have lost the standard; the ideal set forth for man by his Creator. No longer is the Bible regarded as "the way." The result — millions are deceived into adopting this "do your own thing" philosophy. They trod down the great, wide way of the world; seeking happiness where nobody ever found happiness. And after futile attempts to "find their own way," they end up disappointed and LOST — realizing too late that "the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps" (Jer. 10:23).

If we look again to the example of godly men in the scriptures, see that their convictions were not based on subjective feelings (what they thought was right). They knew of the "way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25). Likewise — if our convictions are to be pleasing God, they must be based on the only source of truth, His word. K.0'Banion