Babylon was a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, making the whole earth drunk; the nations drank of her wine, therefore the nations went mad. Jeremiah 51:7
Mad – The elixir of the gods is power. It is the aphrodisiac of self-sovereignty. And it is deadly. Jeremiah proclaimed that the world of the 6th Century BC was drunk on the power of Babylon. What do you think the world is drinking today? The same toxic brew has been spilling into the halls of government for as long as men have believed they are in charge of their destinies. Today is the 6th Century BC. We worship those who wield the sword, proclaim everlasting prosperity and devour the earth. We are the madmen, consuming ourselves in the rush to have more. We are a world of bigger barns, storing up our treasures here while God prepares an accounting for our souls. Oblivious of our impending doom, we reel from one barstool to another, leaving in our wake the vast sea of impoverished faces. Drinking to stay drunk in order not to face the guilt of our pointless excess, we transform the powerful into idols and role models while we vicariously live their unrighteous exploits.
Is the world mad? How else can it be described? In a headlong death spiral of disobedience, only insanity can account for the complete disregard of the awe of existence and the call of the Creator. Men are lauded for their rejection of the fundamental question, “What does God demand of me?” But this is not an inherited condition, although it is certainly passes from one generation to another. This is voluntary madness. It is not only completely unnecessary, it is also completely unexplainable. There is no reason for sin. Sin is insanity. It is the deliberate decision to destroy myself by ignoring the grace, peace and harmony that God offers. Why would anyone do that? The question presupposes there is a valid reason for such self-contradictory actions. There is no valid reason. There is only madness.
The choice of Hebrew word here is most instructive. It is halal, the same word that means “to praise” used in conjunction with ministry to God. Halal includes boasting, shouting, acting foolishly and raging insanity. Consider the spectrum here. On the same scale we find madness and godly praise. What is the difference? Only the object of our worship. To be in one’s right mind is to be in praise of the one true God. To be insane is to be in praise of myself. Reasonable men, men of sound and righteous minds, are confronted with the inexplicable behavior and thought of madmen when they encounter those who are most surely running the path to self-destruction. There is no ground for argument or negotiation with such men. Until they come to their right minds, they are no different than the Gerasene demoniac, dangerous to themselves and to anyone in proximity. The Bible does not apply the terminology of the DSM IV to such men. It calls them demon-possessed for that is what they are. Insane. Self-destructive. Savage. Desperate.
Removing the spiritual component of such terminal behavior by dressing it in psychological garb is a mark of general cultural insanity. Redefining self-inflicted, eternal destruction as “normal” behavior does more to assist the enemy than any decline in morality. Men no longer fear the inevitable consequences of voluntary madness because today voluntary madness – the rejection of God’s instructions – is accepted and expected even within the Church. The nations came to the table of the Eucharist and were offered intoxication. Now who’s drunk?
Topical Index: mad, halal, drunk, power, demon-possession, Jeremiah 51:7