A common temptation for each new generation of Christians is to assume that our times are unique. That we are facing a brand new demonstration of evil. That somehow, sin and wickedness have a new angle and have gripped culture and the world in a new way.
But, as we read Scripture, it is evident that is not the case. This is sometimes blatantly put forth, such as the, “…there is nothing new under the sun,” of Ecclesiastes 1:9. But a place where this truth is more quietly affirmed is in the words of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 59:14-15 reads:
“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”
This knowledge is an odd comfort. Whatever sin we see in the world, or even ourselves, whatever cultural hurdle there is for the faithful Christian, it is not sourced by something new to this world. And, directly after reminding us of the evil that lurks so persistently, Isaiah foreshadows the victory over evil that would come through Jesus:
“The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.”Isaiah 59: 15-17
Our times are not unique, evil is not unique, but thankfully we know that God triumphs over it all. In his commentary on Isaiah 59, Matthew Henry wrote:
“He engaged his own strength and righteousness for them. They shall be saved, notwithstanding all this; and, Because they have no strength of their own, nor any active men that will set to it in good earnest to redress the grievances either of their iniquities or of their calamities, therefore his own arm shall bring salvation to him, to his people, or to him whom he would raise up to be the deliverer, Christ, the power of God and arm of the Lord, that man of his right hand whom he made strong for himself.”
Sin and evil have not changed from Eden, but God conquers over it all.