Change, but what kind of change?
By Myrtle Virginia Thompson
If you feel the world is falling apart — morally, spiritually, politically — and think we need a change, try reading through the Psalms.
Thousands of years ago, the Psalmist felt the same way. He asked, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples mutter vanity…” (Psalm 2, the Tree of Life version.) Paul must have been familiar with this Psalm when he wrote, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6). Each of the writers sees the answer to earth’s problems as a need for people to know the true God and allow Him to be their ruler. They both know God as the mighty warrior who fought for Israel.
In his great work “The City of God,” St. Augustine wrote about the two kingdoms that rule Planet Earth, the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God. Paul told the Ephesian Christians that before they became believers, they “walked in conformity to the ruler of the domain of darkness, in the desires of the flesh (the kingdom of man), which the “prince of the power of the air” wants to rule (Ephesians 2, The Tree of Life version). We have every reason for concern if we are trusting only in man’s kingdom, which may have some good ideas but no control over what happens.
The Old Testament affirms how little power we have over what happens to us. We pay scarce attention to how God wants to lead us or what He wants to say to us, unaware of the schemes someone may be devising against us. Today’s table talk is about how long the earth will last, as if we could answer that. The real mystery is how much time is left before the curtains of darkness fall around us. I am one who believes it was God who gave America the blessings we enjoy. Those vying for leadership and power seem uninterested in asking His guidance while we stand by passively. If and when we become aware that God has withdrawn Himself, it may be too late. God will not give His glory to another.
Change is a gamble, a sporting idea. We don’t know how the bets will turn out. There is no way to know the future, not even what nature will bring us, but there is a desire and strong attempt for would-be leaders to use their powers of persuasion to make us join them. Ergo, we need to look back at the past before we believe what we are promised for our future. The bottom line? “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Solomon in Ecclesiastes wrote, “Whoever digs a pit may fall into it,” and the first chapter of Proverbs reminds us “the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”
The people of Israel are an example. They were restless. In the Book of Judges, we are told “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” In I Samuel 8, we read how they wanted a king “like the people around them.” The prophet Samuel told them what would happen if they rejected and replaced the God of their fathers with an earthly ruler. They got their wish but became enslaved and ultimately were taken out of their land. The change they were demanding brought on their defeat.
It is the Gospel, the Good News that is the change our world needs. We find guidance when we study the Bible and offer ourselves to God for His will and then follow His guidelines.
Myrtle V. Thompson is a 91-year-old Bible teacher, educator and retired missionary. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.