A Lamp for Today
In the news today, there is much discussion of the country of Iraq and the effort on the part America to “democratize” it. Is this possible, and is, what will it take to accomplish this? I have much discussion of opinion, but very little appeal to truth or any consideration of history.
As Christians, we should have a special interest in history, for history is the account of God's dealings with man. We could state it more strongly and say that history is the account of God's dealings with HIS people. The Lord has one main interest here on earth, and that is His bride, the Church.
From the beginning, God has concerned Himself with a people that would live for Him. All other nations and people groups were raised up for the purpose of dealing with His people. Before Christ, the Egyptians, Canaanites, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, and Romans were all raised up so God could accomplish a purpose regarding His people Israel. Since Christ, God's people no longer reside in a single nation, but God still has no other purpose for any nation but how it affects Patrick His Church and glorifies His name.
As Christian homeschoolers, we have seen clearly the importance of the “creation/evolution” battle. We do not want others to teach our children that we have evolved, but rather, that an Almighty God created us. Usually we assign this battle to the science class, but isn't there really a history aspect to that battle? Evolutionary theories are really, bad history. If that is true, then why do we stop with the issues of origins? I think it is important that we understand that the secular humanist cannot teach history with any more accuracy than the evolutionist. The secular historian may have the dates, places and names right, but how can he possibly give us a true perspective on the reasons for which events have occurred?
As we study history, we will observe the sin and obedience of man, as well as both the wrath and mercy of God. We will observe God's ways, His laws and His character. We can be renewed in our minds and it will work to transform us into the image of Christ. As we look at God's dealings in the past, we can put together a long-term picture of the direction of history and receive direction for the day today.
One observation we can make is that the kingdom of God is advancing. Starting out in Jerusalem with twelve men, 120 in the upper room on Pentecost, and then about 3000 more later that day, the Church has continued to grow through the centuries. Not only has the Church grown in number, but we can also observe the blessings true Christians have received wherever God has placed them. God has brought order and re-stored civilization to the people groups He has touched. European barbarians were Henry transformed by the gospel and moved across the Atlantic Ocean to birth our own nation. Indeed, that which is called “the western world” is that part of the world which has been touched by the gospel of Christ and blessed by God. Where the gospel has not yet gone, there remain people who worship demons and whose countries are oppressed. Even our own country seems to be going the way of those countries which have abandoned the Lord. Over all though, the Kingdom of God is growing. With all of its ups and downs, we need the larger perspective of history to see it. My 52 years is too small of a time period for me to rightly judge the course we are on.
What have we learned about the founding of our country and its laws? One quote that stands out to me is that of President John Adams in 1798: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ” It is true, the liberties we have in this country can be rightly held only by those who will be responsible with them or, in other words, whom have their “passions bridled by morality and religion.” John Adams is speaking of those who have an internal control, or are “self-governed.” He is speaking of those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. He is speaking of Christians. George Washington also stated in his farewell address that religion and morality were indispensable supports to government.
Is it possible to democratize Iraq? With just this brief look at our own national history, we can begin to see that God's blessings came to His people and we are losing those blessings as we wander from His side. How can we ever expect the blessings of God to be poured out upon a disobedient and godless people? Francis Schaffer spoke of this in his book How Shall We Then Live . Schaffer stated that if our form of government is to be exported to other countries, we will have to export the missionaries first.
This perspective is not being mentioned in the media, with its pluralistic mindset. There is no understanding that God is a sovereign God who rules in the affairs of men. Even Benjamin Franklin recognized, that as a sparrow cannot fall, neither can a nation rise, without the assistance of God. Our nation is waiting for Godly men to arise and lead. Men who, knowing their own sinfulness, will humbly look to God for direction and strength, men who will, only then, boldly speak the words of truth.
With this call in mind, we must make every effort to prepare our children with the truth of history. The Bible is our starting point, and as we look at extra-biblical history, we must judge it by the Word of God. Knowing and understanding the work of God in the lives of those who have gone before, seeing also their failings and their obedience, can give us vision for today. History can come alive as we study it with the perspective that thes are the stories of our family, and that we are the continuation of that story. As parents training our children for the future, we must look at history truly as "His Sotry" and let it light our path.