One of the mistakes that we can make, a mistake that can keep us from realistic thinking, is the belief that the world will continue to be as things are right now. We live in an age of change. In truth, the world has always been able to change in a moment. There are events, big and significant happenings, that lead to reshaping nations. And when we do not remember that, in the hands of the Lord, nations rise and fall, we fail to remember how great and sovereign is our God.
Here is what I mean. We think, as Americans, that we live in a nation that will stand in the future as she has for the past nearly 242 years. We think that we will always be in a nation that is the dominant power, or one of the dominant powers in the world. But we forget that the US has not been a superpower for nearly as long as we think. It is only after World War II that our nation rose to its position of international prominence. It has been less than a century that our nation’s thoughts and actions have been supposedly important on the global scene. And we would be foolish to think that such power and influence and success is our national birthright, a privilege that cannot be lost.
Think how often in history that the entire course of the world has changed in a moment. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand started a war that covered the globe and rewrote the maps. World War I led quickly to World War II. Had these wars not happened, consider the strength we might see in nations like Japan and Germany. With one political move in the second decade of the 20th century, the world moved to bring nations like the United States and the Soviet Union to power as they turned to massively change the fortunes of the Empire of Japan, Germany, and Italy. The world changes, and it does so quickly.
In case you are curious, this is all on my mind from a daily Bible reading in 2 Kings 9-11. There we see an event that changes the structure of two nations for years to come.
2 Kings 9:21 – Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.
That encounter did not go well for the two kings. Jehu shot Joram with an arrow and his men took down Ahaziah. In one day, two kings fell and their nations were changed. This led to Jehu destroying the temple of Baal and the prophets of Baal in the northern kingdom. Later, the same would happen in the south. And the world was different, vastly different. And The Bible tells us that this was according to the plan and power of God.
God changes the world, and sometimes he does so faster than we might expect. God brings down kingdoms we thought would stand forever. God brings down religions that believed they could stand against him forever. God changes the map. God brings forth nations we thought were long gone (Israel in 1948 as an example). God pulls down nations that we thought would always be superpowers (the Soviet Union in 1991 as an example).
Now, here is the thinking point for us. Why would we think that we stand on any soil more firm than did people of the past? The same God who establishes and who destroys nations is still God over all. In a day he can change the world. IN a moment he can topple a superpower. IN a moment he can bring a godless nation to repentance (Nineveh after Jonah). In a day, he can redraw the map.
Friends, we must remember that the true King of kings is in heaven. We do not have the power to force or stay his hand. Our borders mean nothing to him. Our military might is nothing when compared to the Almighty. Our young nation, less than two-and-a-half centuries old, is not impressive to the Lord. We are as subject to his power as were the Kings of Israel and Judah.
So may we be humble. May we seek the Lord. May we realize that we must have the grace of God if our nation is to stand. May we repent. May we plead with the Lord for mercy. We have sinned against God as a people in countless ways. We need to bow to him and pray for pardon. And we need to know that God can change our nation. He can change us to honor him in obedience. He can change us by judging and destroying us, which is also to his honor. Let us remember that the Lord, he is God, and he is above all kings and all nations forever.