There are many caste systems in our world, and if the Bible is correct, none of them will matter in the end. It reminds us: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:4-5 NIV)
Celebrate or Separate?
We make many distinctions in this world. A diverse Creator gave us many differences to celebrate, but our selfish, carnal nature has tended towards self-glorification and separation rather than mutual celebration. We place greater value on some people, places, or things, often because they have external qualities that attract us or catch our eye.
In the 90’s Billy Joel sang, “Don’t you know about the new fashion, honey? All you need are looks and a whole lotta money”, but it’s always been true. As consumers, we pay more for certain brands. Tabloids celebrate people because they have looks or money. We don’t really mix with people who are different than we are, and tend to avoid people we deem unsavory or “beneath us”.
There is a subtle caste system starting in high school (or earlier) that operates in society and culture, and elevates some people even as it marginalizes others. You know that system, with kids grouped together subtly as jocks or stoners, debaters or skaters, glee club or nerds. Hollywood has made movies for the last 30+ years that capitalized on those distinctions and perpetuated them. Why? Because almost everyone can relate to being defined in the high school caste system…
A Different Caste
We judge/evaluate people with a quick glance and a set of assumptions. We categorize them based on how they look, where they live, or what they do. Some call it profiling, but everybody does it in some form or another. In Acts 10:34 when Peter realized that the gospel had come to Gentiles, he said “I see now that God is no respecter of persons”. He meant that in the Lord’s eyes, there is no external value or social caste system that matters. As the Lord’s creation, we are only evaluated by HIS standards, not ours.
Jesus certainly emphasized this in his ministry by reaching out intentionally to the marginalized people in his world– to tax collectors and sinners, to the Samaritans, to women… He seemed to have a totally different standard of acceptance and therefore a totally different caste system than the Pharisees or Romans did.
When John the Baptist quoted Isaiah in Luke 3:4-5, he was referring to society and culture more than topography and travel. He said, “as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, and every mountain and hill made low. The crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth. And all humanity will see God’s salvation.’ ”
We look at outward appearance, but the Lord, Samuel told Jesse, “looks on the heart.” Our heavenly Father doesn’t judge on physique or fashion. Rich or poor, handsome/pretty or not, great or small, we are all the same in God’s eyes. For His children, mountains will be made low and all roads made straight. The good news is, our Creator will evaluate us not on looks but on love. The bad news: if you are depending on something external to be acceptable to God, you might find yourself at a rocky roadblock on a mountain you can’t climb.
A Different Level
Don’t slump too low in your valley;
don’t sit too high on your throne;
When the scrolls are unsealed and the Lord is revealed
We will all stand before Him, alone…
His judgment’s impartial and perfect,
and will be — like His glory — eternal.
Our status or caste are the things that won’t last,
Since they’re always and only external.
Be careful what you call important,
and of what you rank high on the chart:
‘Cause it’s not how you look and it’s not how you cook,
Or if you wrote a book, or the money you took,
Or your rep on the streets, or in how many tweets,
Even if you were known, on a throne, or alone…
What God sees from the start is your innermost part,
It’s the motives and thoughts and intents of your heart! It isn’t your cash, or how pretty your face is,
But knowing what heart-felt confession and Grace is.
To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread