Accurate reporters of the flow of news find it hard to write with lightness and optimism about world events these days. Words such as “sorrow,” “pity,” “agony” follow each other accompanied by pictures of wounded and dying men, women and children, homes being reduced to rubble, cities and farms being devastated, while the living stumble in any direction that seems to promise some measure of safety. The great promises of people who were sure that the world was getting better and better, that peace was just around the next corner and violence soon would disappear, have become blurred words lost in the roar of cold and hot wars and in the rumble of diverse disasters. Screams of fear, calls for help, cries of alarm pierce the constant undercurrent of general noise. Who has ears to hear?

“Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?” (Isa. 50:2). God is asking a question: why, when he calls, do people not answer? God has spoken through the ages, and many have responded with only silence.

“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not” (Isa. 66:4). It was not only Eve and Adam who did evil before God’s eyes, and it was not only Cain who chose that in which God did not delight; but streams of people through the centuries have responded to God’s call by turning away and acting as if they did not hear. It was not only past centuries of people who did not listen to the word of God as his prophets verbalized it to them, nor was it only those ...

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