Thursday, July 2, 2015

Downward Spirals

When confronted with the consequences of sin, most people react in denial or avoidance—much the same way as when confronted with the actual committal leading to this point.  Regularly, what begins as a rationalization for acceptance of conduct in relation to other societal behavior turns to disbelief and blame when faced with the ultimate ends of the behavior.  When a group has been complicit, the reaction intensifies exponentially, making clear thinking even more problematic.  Over past millennia, governments and nations have fallen insisting that their course of action is proper for the citizenry, when in fact, it is the opposite.  Peer pressure to accept or abide government-sanctioned sin works as an added control of dissident thought—truth.

Illustration by Harry Clarke
Eventually, the national situation becomes dire and extreme measures are required.  In order to avoid the worst, authorities have turned to their great thinkers for counsel: “How can the inevitable be prevented?  What should we do?”  Like the doomed vessel of Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” the nation is dragged into a continual downward spiral.  Unwise counsel will say, “Weather the storm.  We have done so before and can again.”  Those folding fast to the ship of state and such counsel for safety are doomed.  The scripturally faithful leader is able to ascertain the true condition and necessary corrective via the more secure, but counter-intuitive, promises.

National leaders with a modicum of spiritual understanding will seek out the biblical counsel, however their intentions may be masked until counsel has been given.  The wise leader will takes heed, acknowledges the national error, and throws himself on God’s mercy.  The vast majority, however, reject the truth, accuse the counselor of lying for personal or political gain, and instead attempt political means, even through foreign relations, to evade the undoubted fallout.  Yet in the midst of this political maneuvering, national leaders keep the godly leader close at hand, as if he might act as a lifeboat or flotation device to whom they might cling in vain effort to pulled into the abyss.  Once again, these measures will fail.

Along the way, people will ask why the calamity has come with no end of analysis on how this could have been averted and where we go from here.  The man of God will make known the truth of how the people abandoned Almighty God for idols of their own making.  The surprising retort comes that the leaders knew full well what they did and are glad of it, because their actions formerly led to prosperity—the very thing the people wanted.  They appeal to the goodness of the conditions that bring about collapse.

Reader, you may be assuming that I have been writing of the current woes in the United States concerning the validation of homosexual marriage by the Supreme Court.  That is not the case, nor is this a look at the economic collapse happening with Greece.  Either would fit, as might any past regime.  Some might even wonder if the U.S. is “too big to fail.”  (Where have we heard that before?  2008 anyone?)  The U.S.S.R. is a stark example of super-power that can fall almost overnight.  My example nation is much older than those from modern history.  It comes from the pages of the Bible through the prophet Jeremiah (42-45).  The vestiges of the small, but mighty, nation of Israel had fallen in ruin because they had forsaken their God.  If any nation could claim Scripture as the basis for their government, this is it.  Their constitution was the Scriptures, yet as a people, they had determined that the “welfare” of the nation superseded their allegiance to the Lord of all Who called them to be a people.  They tried to use their privileged position as a hedge and considered themselves too big to fail.  Regardless of how large or small the nation, when the people do not have a regard for biblical principles in their rule, implosion is inevitable.*

Can national repentance stave off the collapse?  Perhaps, but let us think more locally and pray that those who name the name of Christ in my city or locale will seek the Lord, so that the gospel might go forth in clarity.  The Great Shepherd will gather His flock: He will build His church.

*  Lest you think I am advocating something I have not said, let me state that America is not Israel.  It never has been, nor ever will be.  We are not, nor ever have been, a Christian nation.  The Founding Fathers did have a healthy regard for the Bible, which colored their approach to our governing principles.  Also, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a promise for Americans to claim that God will heal the U.S.

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