“I, even I, am He that comforts you; Who are you that you are afraid of man that shall die…?” Isaiah 51:12


 During the state opening of Parliament, the British sovereign delivers an address. As the peroration concludes, the monarch turns to the assembled parliamentarians and solemnly declares: “My Lords and members of The House of Commons, I pray that the blessing of Almighty God will rest upon your counsels.” This is of profound import. The monarch expresses the hope that the assembled legislators will enjoy the sanction of He whose will stands forever and that their contributions will thereby be vouchsafed for posterity.

Too often, those in power, in administrations worldwide, bend to the seemingly irresistible force of contemporary public opinion. But this leads to embarrassment. Actions and declarations once seen as courageous and patriotic may later cause deep embarrassment, sometimes for generations.

It is deeply imprudent to place total trust in man-made values which are fickle and subject to transitory trends. In the words of the Psalmist; “Put not your trust…in a son of man… When his breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his designs perish. Happy is he… whose hope is in the Lord, his God: who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 146).

There is only one way to ensure that we will never regret our deeds. That is to hold and abide by Divine values. As Isaiah (40:8) put it; “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever.”

God has communicated laws and values that are not ephemeral, nor based on a transient model of ethics. By relying on the religious ethics of God, one is not subject to sudden, unpredictable changes in societal values which once lionised individuals who espoused prejudiced views as being loyal nationalists, and then rightly excoriate such words today. Rather, we are guided by timeless ethical messages, such as the message contained in this week’s Torah portion, “Justice, justice shall you follow”, and the eternal Judaic teaching that every human is created in God’s image.

This means that even when at odds with the current ambient culture, humans can be confident that they are following a Godly, undying, ethical code that neither wanes nor metamorphises in the way that manmade values do. Let us no longer hope for security from earthly institutions. Let us place our trust in Almighty God, whose values endure forever.



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