Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, Till now the LORD has helped us. -- 1 Samuel 7:12
Friday, July 1, 2016
Stones of Remembrance
July 4th weekend is a good time to stop and think about how we came to this point as a nation, where we might be going, and why God has helped us – at least until now.
America -- like most countries in the world, has a lot of unrighteous people in it. Again, like all other nations, those who have position, power, and influence in government are mostly corrupt, power-mad, greedy, and ungodly – whatever their professions and protestations. They may use the kingdom of heaven as their template in a “we are the world” sense, but they are at the top of the hierarchy – a secular priesthood of spiritually degenerate plutocrats. The question I ask is, why did God ever help us at all? He helped Israel – the short version – in order to bring Christ into the world.
Empires rise and fall. Nations come together and break apart. We were remarkably situated during the 20th Century, isolated to some extent, from the civilian horrors of the world wars. The last war on our soil kept mostly to the battlefields, as had been the fashion from the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Now, of course, a new kind of war – sometimes called 4th Generation warfare – has broken out in the world. We are not being spared from that, but I don’t want to get into the politics of it all.
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. We can enter it. I believe the Lord has helped us until now and will continue to help us as we keep our focus on Christ. History is a spiraling, halting, flailing, and sometimes failing movement toward the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. It is not because history has a goal. Nor is it because men have grand visions of how the world ought to be. Even the most intelligent, clever, and insightful members of humanity cannot escape the law of unintended consequences -- though the Founders did it about was well as anyone ever has. No, it is because God has a goal. In His great strategic plan, we are sometimes players and sometimes pawns. We might even be both as often as not – though we likely won’t know.
So, on this celebration of the birth of a nation, put down your markers and your memorial stones in the certainty that our current uncertainty in no way worries the Almighty. That rock Samuel called ‘Ebenezer’ wasn’t there for the Israelites alone. It was a reminder to all their enemies that, as David would proclaim not long afterward, the battle is the Lord’s.