Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Heavens Do Rule

To those who do not recognize the sovereignty of God, there is a mystery about history. Why is the course of history so consistent? Why do repeated attitudes and actions of nations always lead to the same result? Why is it that great civilizations do not endure? Why do they all end crumbling or devastated? Regimes and philosophies rise and fall. There appears no permanence.

The answer to all that of course, is that there is law for man's conduct upon the earth. When peoples disdain that law, they break themselves against it. Even before the law was codified by Moses, and radiantly clarified in the gospel, law existed. As long as there has been sin, there has been law: "Where there is no law, there is no transgression" (Rom. 4:15 ). Transgression, sin, is a violation of God's law (I Jn. 3:4). Sin has existed since Eden , therefore law has existed since then. God punished the world for its sin in the flood, yet that was before the writing of the law by Moses. The law existed before the law of Moses was written. "Until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed where there is no law" (Rom. 5:13 ).

So, from the beginning there has been a law for the moral conduct of man. When nations set it aside, they do so to their own detriment. God will not allow sin to ceaselessly pollute his earth. When peoples and nations are sufficiently defiled, God brings them into judgment. Afterward, peoples reform. But their offspring neglect the reforms, and then their offspring eventually reject the early standards altogether. And God brings judgment again. The flow of history is thus determined by God in heaven. These repeated patterns indicate law. There is a moral Governor of the universe. As King Nebuchadnezzar learned, "The heavens do rule" (Dan. 4:26 ).

I recently clipped the following from some newspaper. It noted that the great civilizations of mankind have averaged about 200 years before collapsing in hardship, and had to start over again. Those societies proceeded through the following cycles:

From bondage, to faith and strong morals
From faith and strong morals, to courage and strength
From courage and strength, to liberty
From liberty, to abundance
From abundance, to selfishness and license
From selfishness and license, to complacency
From complacency, to apathy
From apathy, to dependency
From dependency, back into bondage

Ancient Ninevah repented in the time of Jonah and set the clock back when its doom was nigh. As the salt of the earth, and light of the world, Christians need to do their work. And we need to pray, and then live commensurately with our prayers. Too many who claim to be Christians have put other aspirations first (selfishness), and have succumbed to the false promises of materialism, unrighteousness, and immorality. Where on the above list do you think this nation is? We know where it was in its beginning. Let us remember. The Heavens do rule. The glory of God must be our first concern. And that concern will be blessing to us. -- Dale Smelser

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