Note to the Reader – I encourage you to invest additional time reading the Books of Kings in conjunction with this article.
A Matter of Perspective
The debate rages on whether truth is relative, or perhaps it is better stated, truth is a matter of perspective. Does truth have a point of view? Is truth identifiable? Is it definable? Is it adjustable? We live in a society that struggles not just with the concept of truth, but the application of it as well. The truth debate is so daunting that truth seems to be at a premium yet is at the same time polarizing. It does not seem fair to say that few to none want to find and live by truth. From my limited experience, there are people desperately wanting the truth. Our problems of truth finding seem to be two-fold. One, we live in a society that has proponents of many truths that seem at odds and perhaps mutually exclusive of each other. And our second problem is that our culture is inundated with artistic possibilities that are unmatched with reality.
The Second Problem First
Beautiful men and women are employed to sell everything from cars to cosmetics, yet behind the scenes they are average Joes and Janes beautified by anything from physical alterations to digital enhancements. So pervasive is the altering of reality that movies can be re-edited and broadcast years later with different actors. Even some cartoon movies are animated with such realism that the reality has to be toned down in order to maintain the aesthetics of animation. Our world is fashioned by the imagination, from movies to video games; from comic books to novels. The world of the artist truly can alter and rearrange reality to construct something new, and the slogan “I reject your reality and substitute my own” encapsulates the artists’ capabilities for constructing “reality”.
The First Problem Second
While the second problem is just as powerful as the first, our focus with this article will be on the first. Are there truths at odds with each other, and are they mutually exclusive? Is truth based on human experience and human experience alone? Is it based on religious truth and religious truth alone? Is truth based on scientific truth and scientific truth alone? Or is truth a blending of these?
One’s underlying philosophy, and one’s underlying theology provide assistance in the search for truth. But philosophy and theology do not in themselves define truth; they simply help locate those things that stay in line with truth. Truth needs to answer four specific questions coherently and consistently:
1. Origin – Where did I come from?
2. Meaning – Why am I here?
3. Morality – What am I to do?
4. Destiny – Where am I going?
In the course of discovery and in the course of existence, many have chosen to allow the Scriptures to be the answer for these questions and the arbiter of truth. While some will argue that you cannot be an intellectual and a Christian, there are many who have made an intellectual choice to follow the teachings found within the Scriptures. Becoming a Christian does not mean one is unintelligent, but many in our culture seem to think so. It seems that one of the reasons why those who oppose Intelligent Design and oppose Christianity itself, oppose the way of life is because of the manner of life that some, perhaps many, Christians live.
The previous information permits us to now examine some passages from II Kings, these passages are 14.3, 24; 15.3, 9, 18, 24, 28, and 34. These passages all have one thing in common, the manner in which these men conducted their lives from Jehovah’s perspective. The books of Kings reveal how a nation who supposedly believed in Jehovah turned away from living life from his perspective and the downfall of that nation. The lesson that God-fearers need to learn from this tremendous book of Kings is: do not point the finger at the failure of other nations and non-God-fearers; instead finger pointing is at the God-fearers themselves.
What was the end result of both kingdoms (the Northern Kingdom: Israel and the Southern Kingdom: Judah)? Both of these groups suffered because of their own unwillingness to live by God’s perspective. Each Kingdom would admit that they intellectually accepted Jehovah, but their lives socially, economically and religiously demonstrated that Jehovah was of no real truth.
When someone chooses, and it is a choice, to accept truth from Jehovah’s perspective then Jehovah expects his teachings to become the definer and identifier of truth. For believers, there are plenty of reasons to despair at the current state of affairs, but the central concern of each believer should be a self-reflective examination of whether or not Jehovah’s truths are being followed.
If you are a believer, do you believe that the Scriptures (both Old and New) provide instructions for living (what is permissible and what is not)? Second, and perhaps more importantly, if you are a believer, no matter how difficult it is: do you really allow Jehovah to define your reality? His reality includes imaginations, thoughts, ideas, vocabulary, speech, moral conduct, personal interaction, social behavior, economic justice, and religious uprightness.
It simply is not enough to give answer intellectually to the greatest theological question. If we have said yes that Jehovah is the Creator, then we have to demonstrate our intellectual ascent with physical manifestations. Perhaps it could be argued that part of our situation of cultural downfall is due to the problem of God-fearers, Christians acting in non-accordance with whom they say defines truth: emotional, moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical, financial, and scientific truth. Truth is from a perspective. And as believers in Jehovah, we have chosen to accept his definition of truth. It matters not what non-Jehovah-fearers do. The question is what do I do, and do you do as Jehovah believers? Our lives from our tone to our tunic should demonstrate that Jehovah defines our truth.