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Posts Tagged ‘The Decrees of God’

Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

    Proverbs 22:3

“How did you go bankrupt?,” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. Gradually, then suddenly.”

That line from Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises could, I am sure, be repeated by many who have found themselves in serious financial trouble. A man can pile up debt for years with seemingly little consequence, until suddenly it all comes crashing down. Likewise, a scam artist can go on scamming, until one day his fraud is exposed. Think about Bernie Madoff whose Ponzi scheme blew up during the 2008 financial crisis.

One can find examples of the gradually then suddenly principle in the pages of Scripture as well. Psalm 73 records the psalmist’s lament that wicked men can do what they want and never seem to suffer the consequences of the actions. That is, until he understood that God would bring them “to desolation in a moment.”

Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” expounds a passage in Deuteronomy which expresses much the same idea as Pslam 73. “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” In his exposition of Deuteronomy 32:35, Edwards wrote, “It implies that they [unbelievers] were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall; he can’t foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once, without warning.”

Gradually, then suddenly. Was that not also the case with the men in Noah’s day? They were marrying and giving in marriage. Yet all the while they were adding to their sins, until, as Jesus said, the flood came and took them all away. They never saw it coming.

Much the same can be said of the Canaanites. It was told to Abraham in his day the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet fulfilled. That is, God would judge them, but not yet. Some four hundred plus years later, destruction cane swiftly. Gradually, then suddenly.

Or consider what happened to Israel once the nation was settled in Canaan. Despite God’s sending prophets to warn, gradually the people became more and more corrupt, until suddenly they were carried away into captivity. The Northern kingdom in 722 BC when Samaria was taken by the Assyrians, the southern in 586 BC with the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon.

Gradually, then suddenly. These ideas can be applied to America in our own day. A nation born out of the Protestant Reformation has gradually forgotten its roots, has gradually turned away from the source of its strength. And what are we to say about such a nation? What will be its end? If the Bible, and even secular history, are any guide, unless the Lord grants many repentance, quite obviously it is headed for a fall. Likely a sudden one at that.

But a sudden fall for America, if in fact it comes, and the West more generally, does not mean that American Christians or Christians in other Western nations have no defense and no hope. We shall look at this further in a few moments. But before we begin our discussion of practical pointers for Christian preppers, I would like to point out a couple of noteworthy announcements last week relative to the financial markets.

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jehoiakim-burns-the-scroll

Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll, Caspar Luiken 1672-1708.

What to write?  That’s the question all bloggers must face.  Sometimes the answer comes quickly.  Sometimes it doesn’t. 

With campaign season hitting its big crescendo last week, my mind’s been focused on the election. But now that it has passed, where do I go from here? There’s the series on immigration I’ve been writing. I haven’t forgotten about it. Lord willing, I plan to finish it sometime later this month. But today didn’t strike me as a day to write about immigration.

So back to the question of what to write about. Perhaps due in part to the recently concluded election, the specter of national and civilizational decline is often at the forefront of my thoughts.

Perhaps another reason for this is my Scripture reading. Recently, I’ve been focused on the prophets, Jeremiah in particular. And I never get very far in the prophets before I find myself saying “This could have been written yesterday about America!”

And it’s true, too. Edward Gibbons’ masterpiece of history The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is often cited by writers who want to advance some reason or another for the obvious, ongoing collapse of Western Civilization in our own time.

But there is a far better text to use if we want to gain insight on the problems we face in 21st century America. Of course, I’m referring to the Bible. And in particular the historical books of I and II Samuel,
I and II Kings,
I and II Chronicles and the prophets. Taken together, they could almost be subtitled The Decline and Fall of the Hebrew Republic.

Samuel was the last of the judges and the anointer of the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. It was during Samuel’s judgeship that Israel made the critical error in asking for a king (big government) in place of the limited, constitutional republic set up by God in the law of Moses.

If we were to summarize the history of Israel under the kings, we could say that the kingdom rapidly grew in power under the rule of David, hit its peak under his son Solomon, then split in two – the northern and southern kingdoms – under Solomon’s son Rehoboam. From there, the two kingdoms followed a centuries long trajectory of decline with the northern kingdom falling to Assyrian in 722 BC, and the southern kingdom to Babylon in 586 BC.

What makes the history of this decline and fall so relevant today is that the reader is not, as he is with secular history, left to decide for himself the reasons behind the disasters that befell Israel and Judah. The Word of God tells him explicitly: the people of Israel refused to heed the Lord and suffered the covenant curses pronounced in Deuteronomy 28.

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