Psalm 7:8-10 “The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Oh, let the evil of the wickedcome to an end, and may you establish the righteous — you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.”
Many know that my favorite movie of all time is the 1939 American musical fantasy "The Wizard of Oz". It's a classic "good verses wicked" movie of colorful characters and exciting adventure that I enjoyed all my life. It was just last year that I discovered that this novel (written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900) was an allegory or metaphor to the contemporary political interests of the day; actual political personalities, events and ideas of the 1890s. Dorothy represents the American people - naive and simple, led astray and seeking the way back home, following the road of gold that leads only to the Emerald City, which symbolized the fraudulent world of greenback paper money that only pretended to have value. The "Yellow Brick Road" represents the gold standard in the united States of America. Oz: an abbreviation that stands for gold, a hot political topic of the day. The Scarecrow: represents western farmers. During the time that the story was written, American farmers were suffering from the effects of federal deflation. Their debts were growing larger as they were getting less money for their crops and other goods. The farmers wanted the dollar value to have fixed ratios of both gold and silver. The Tin Woodsman is a representation of the industrial workers and the Cowardly Lion of politicians in general. Here I thought that the story was just a nice little fairy tale with a happy ending and a silver screen classic.
Romans 1:16-20 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Saturday afternoon, we made the traffic-jammed drive with our good friends, Robbie & Marcia from the "couples ministry" at the church that my wife was the Secretary at for nine years, to Hollywood the see the "On Tour" production of the Broadway musical Wicked" and the Pantages theater. It was well worth the trek, as this Play was hilariously entertaining. The synopsis says that "Wicked" explores the concept that the Wicked Witch of the West, here known as Elphaba, is a misunderstood outcast, a victimized person whose behavior is merely a reaction against the charlatan Wizard's corrupt government. It also displays her relationship as "best friends" with the beautiful, popular and ambitious Galinda Upland, who ultimately becomes Glinda the Good Witch of the North. The Grammy award-winning songs ("I'm Not That Girl" & "Defying Gravity", my favorites), outrageous stage effects, and an outstanding cast made for an evening to remember. I highly recommend that you see "Wicked", if you get a chance. Yer, here too, was an allegorical message and a metaphor to the contemporary political and social interests of our day. (godless struggles with prejudice, popularity, position, power, prestige, pride, mis-treatment of animals, taking advantage of others and government corruption ... wickedness). The common hidden message ... the problem of sin.
Romans 6:13-22 “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments ofwickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Slaves to Righteousness. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
What is wicked? By definition “wicked” means iniquitous, nefarious evil in principle and practice, sinful, immoral; vicious, harmful; destructive; vile; bad. But what defines “wicked” and what is “wickedness” measured against? Answer: The standards, the statutes, the commandments, and the words of our just and holy creator God. Virtues are “of God”, while vices are “not of God”, but sins against God. So the question is: “Who is on the throne of our heart?”, because everyone obeys who is on that throne of our life. We have to realize that when it comes to being “wicked”, I’m not that girl … or guy.
In Christ, Brian