The history of the nation of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament is one where the people fell into a pattern: when they feared God and followed His laws they were blessed. But when the people forgot their God and turned to their own ways or the ways of the pagan nations around them, they got into trouble. Then they would cry out to God and He would deliver them. For a while, the people would honor God and His anointed leaders, but before long they would forget and the whole cycle would start again. Moses had warned them by saying “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes…” (Deuteronomy 12:8, ESV). Instead they were to pay attention to the words and ways of God as revealed to them through Moses.
This is the great divide in our culture today, as it has been throughout time. Will human reasoning be enthroned as the great master, or will God’s ways as revealed in His word be the source of our guiding principles? Human reasoning is not a bad thing…certainly the earth is full of wonderful things created by men and women of all cultures. But when our ways contradict God’s ways, when reasoned thought leads us to conclusions that are contrary to the truths revealed in Scripture, that’s when problems arise.
Solomon, probably the wisest human (besides Jesus) who ever lived, gave this admonition:
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Proverbs 3:7, NASB
Many recent examples could be given where human reasoning has stepped on God’s word. Take, for example, the controversial issue of abortion. Proponents of abortion point to many reasons why the killing of an unborn fetus should be permitted: the child might be born into poverty, the child has been diagnosed with a disability, or the mother may not love the child because it is inconvenient and unwanted. Proponents of abortion “reason” that the fetus in the womb is not fully human, it’s just a blob of tissue, and it’s not viable prior to a certain point in its development. But those who fear God point to places in His word where it is obvious that God knows us and makes plans for us even before we are conceived. Besides, it’s not even reasonable to conclude that the fetus is not human simply due to its current location. Clearly, both God’s word and common sense indicate that the taking of an unborn life is murder.
God created the world in wisdom. He has revealed Himself and His ways in the pages of the Bible. We would do well to let the guidance there shape the way we think and reason.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
Proverbs 21:2, ESV