The ancient Greeks used to have a saying: 'Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first drive mad'. But God himself had said something similar in setting out the curses of the covenant: 'The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you' (Deuteronomy 28:28-29).
There are plenty of illustrations of this today, but one episode stands out. On 20 October 1997 seventeen Greenpeace protesters invaded the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister John Howard. They were subsequently arrested and appeared before Scott Mitchell, a Sydney magistrate. Mr. Mitchell, however, ruled that the protesters had acted 'heroically, properly and sincerely' and thought that it would be churlish to record convictions against people 'acting truthfully and with integrity'. The seventeen protesters were thus let off with $200 good-behaviour bonds.
It is easy to become immune to this kind of lunacy: teachers who undermine education, politicians who destroy government, psychiatrists who are insane, economists who are destroying the economy, social workers and counsellors who encourage social problems, and clergymen who are unbelievers. It is thus no surprise to find a magistrate who prefers chaos to the rule of law. He has injected new meaning into the term 'contempt of court'.
It would be comforting if this were just a solitary aberration, but it is nothing of the sort. It bears all the marks of a trend. When societies decay, their spiritual perception goes first. They worship false gods or they worship the right God in the wrong way. This happened in the period of the Judges when the tribe of Dan adopted Micah's idolatry (Judges 17-18). After that comes moral disintegration when the old boundaries are crossed, and evil is unrestrained. We find this in the grim story of the gang rape and death of the Levite's concubine in Judges 19. Finally there is social disintegration where society is only kept together in some sort of sense by coercion. Look up Judges 20-21 and you will see how the ancient social engineers worked. The same trends are evident today.
Deuteronomy 28 tells us that there are blessings and curses associated with the covenant. One of the covenant curses is moral confusion. Isaiah pointed this out in the eighth century B.C.: 'Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!' (Isaiah 5:20).
How thankful we ought to be that God has rescued us from this! We experience daily the consequences of the Fall, but we have a God who has made himself known in clear commandments. He has rescued us from judicial blindness through the death and resurrection of his Son. In a world gone mad, Christians alone have hope. God has saved us from this tragic world.