If there’s one thing we learn from history it’s that we learn nothing from history.
I don’t know how long it would take to read, in one sitting, the history known in the Bible as the Second Book of Kings. It would certainly not take a whole lifetime to read. Yet for anyone who does read it they can see an account of God’s dealing with generations of people. There can be found the experience and wisdom of many lifetimes for all who care to learn from it.
In 2 Kings (as it is known) we can read that when those ancient people turned to God they experienced great blessing. When they turned away from God, lawlessness and social injustice increased, national prosperity eroded and eventually the nation cried out to God for forgiveness and mercy – and received it.
Our culture has worshipped money and possessions for a long time. The point in the cycle we are at now can be seen in the first Book of Kings. Read it for yourself and see where you think we fit.
If the Book of Kings offers us hope it is that we can see the mercy of God if we turn to him again. I wonder how bad it would get before our society would do so. In that ancient account it got very bad indeed in some of the turns of the cycle, with extremes of desperation and cruelty.
They called it a “credit crunch” and now they tell us we are in a recession. Some commentators say we are seeing the end of Capitalism like we once watched the fall of communism, and the “West” will never be the same again. God once said he would shake the heavens and the earth and the nationsÂ (Haggai 2:5-7) so that what could not be shaken (that which is eternally valuable) might remain.
But what of those who, in these special times, go to bed in fear and find no refuge in sleep before rising to more fear? I could say Jesus is the answer, but suspect that some would think that I mean that to turn to him means he will see all our bills are paid and all our wants satisfied. I do not suggest that, nor do I think did he. But I do believe he is the answer and to turn to him is the best course of action.
When Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” He was promising quality of life to all who would hand over their lives to him. Quality of life that would not depend upon whether I am rich or poor, sick or well. And once a person belongs to him they have the privilege of prayer too.
At this time perhaps there are many who wished they had taken the advice of Jesus (in the Gospel of Matthew) and had used their lives for better purposes and pursued better goals. Jesus said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21