Note: this blog was first a lesson in 2004. However, its lessons continue to instruct us. (Genesis 15:12-14; Isaiah 37:1-13, 21-28; Habakkuk 1:6, 2:13-14)
Christians must be aware of trends in history, since particular events are important only as they fit trends. Isolated events are sideshows that can easily distract us or, worse, give the impression of indiscriminate chance in history. Mortals are always attracted to specific events while overlooking trends.
Since 1967, two specific events have confirmed God’s sovereignty over history. However, while everyone noticed them, they missed the trend each illustrated. One, the return of old Jerusalem to Israel, predicted by Jesus in Luke 21:24 and confirmed by Paul as a turning point in history Romans 11:25. Two, the judgment in 1989 of Marxism-Leninism, symbolized in the fall of Soviet Communism throughout Eastern Europe. This colossal event achieved God’s purpose, yet its meaning entirely eluded most Americans.
Instead of merely delighting that God exposed communists as charlatans, we should have been sobered. We learned nothing from the event; we certainly didn’t see it as a warning. If he judged communism’s atheism, his judgment of America’s materialism-humanism cannot be long delayed.
Other events include D-Day, 6 June, 1944. It proved an awesome event, but the trend that made it inevitable began with the evacuation of 300,000 Allied soldiers from Dunkirk May 29-June 2, 1940.
The Atomic bombs dropped on Japan August 6 and 9, 1945, focused world attention on the public shock of the blasts. However, the trend had consumed governmental research world-wide for decades. Japan itself earnestly tried to develop an atomic bomb.
In that regard, let’s correct a wide-spread error ceaselessly spouted by liberals: that war never achieves anything. In fact, war achieves a great deal that wouldn’t be achieved any other way. Just a few examples illustrate.
The battle of Tours in AD 722 turned back a Moslem invasion that would otherwise have spread over Europe.
Only the American willingness to fight brought Independence from Great Britain. Great Britain learned from that defeat to let her other colonies peacefully achieve independence.
Danny Glover, one of the blacks objecting to war because “it doesn’t achieve anything” must not know his people were freed from slavery by the North’s willingness to fight rather than let the South secede in 1861.
The Mexican War in 1846 made it possible for us to live in California right now. Would we even want to live in San Diego County now if it were a continuation of Tijuana? Or in the Southwest anywhere if it were only a continuation of Mexico?
The liberation of Europe came because Allied peoples sacrificed themselves and their children to destroy an evil Nazi empire. Would they ever have surrendered to an economic embargo?
Even as war changes everything, it expedites technology in society. For instance, our Civil War pushed America out of an agricultural into the industrial age. It would have happened eventually, perhaps in a generation or more, but war accelerated the process. Without it, and succeeding conflicts, we wouldn’t have our present medical, business and communication advances.
Like Christians, nations must choose their conflicts carefully. They can’t let every disagreement deteriorate into war, but sometimes they have no choice but to fight rather than surrender. Otherwise, vicious Satanists uncontestedly occupy territory and human lives. Such warfare most generally has divine guidance motivating it. This is obvious in the Old Testament, but clear also in contemporary life.
Think of Sadaam Hussein’s removal from power. It is a single event, but it complements the trend God enunciated to Abraham in Genesis 15:12-14. God tolerates evil only to a certain measure, then punishes the evil-doer. On the aircraft carrier on which President Bush landed, a huge banner exclaimed Mission Accomplished. And, indeed, the military accomplished its mission—the removal of Hussein from power, a decision God wanted implemented. Hussein had poured his cup of iniquity full to overflowing, and God finally broke his cup.
A note of mystery exists here. Hussein’s evil was known by many, including our CIA, State Department officials and business representatives who still conducted business with him. Which proves that humans don’t determine when God decides to act. Hussein’s pre-emptive strike against Kuwait in August 1990 serves as an example of God’s sovereignty over the nations. Had Hussein waited another 2-3 years, he would have possessed atomic weapons. That would have raised the stakes of war to a critical stage.
This is an example of the conflict that continues between God and Satan. Satan uses people but God controls situations and the people in them. One of two theories explain how Satan uses people, but loses control of them to God.
He hates God so much that he refuses to accept the defeat Jesus mercilessly inflicted on him in the wilderness and on the cross. That refusal keeps alive his opposition.
The ego of the people he uses as willing instruments become their own gods after a certain point. In this way they pass from Satan’s influence to God’s control
The best example of this is Christ’s death. Satan didn’t want him dead, but the Jewish leadership did. While he used them, he lost influence when their ego got in the way.
(God’s servants escape this difficulty. Once we commit our lives to him, both his control of us and influence over us increase and, in the extension, our usefulness to others increases. This is in accordance with the spiritual principle that only degrees of depravity exist in sin, and only dimensions of excellence exist in righteousness).
Whatever the explanation, God allows Satan’s use of humans to conflict God’s will, but maintains control over all events and the persons in them. As a consequence, even the evil serve God, despite their opposition. God’s orders to Satan in Job reflect that reality 1:12, 2:6. – CONTINUED –