History Repeats Itself
History was my favorite subject in school. I was always fascinated by the many heroes that made a contribution, small or large. I loved the stories of the underdog who went the extra mile to bring about change, no matter what.
Their stories made an impact, inspiring me to want to make a difference in the world.
Recently, I listened to a podcast on current events, including our volatile political climate. The host and guests discussed Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities”. Now, I love a good revolutionary story. I mean, my family’s favorite Broadway play is “Les Miserables” which we’ve seen numerous times.
The podcast discussion began with the first line of the book, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
The story is set during the French Revolution. The short story on the French Revolution: the middle/poor class tried to overthrow the monarchy and noble ruling class. In the end, they just replaced one king/monarch with another in Napoleon Bonaparte.
All of this to say, you can definitely see how close to history we really are as a nation. They say those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Such truth.
Even though America never really had an aristocracy, in some ways, we continued to have one behind the scenes as we became a fledgling nation.
The French Enlightenment thinker, Denis Diderot, felt that America should fear a system of two separate and unequal divisions of wealth (upper and lower class system) resulting in a small number of very wealthy citizens and a multitude of citizens living in poverty.
Some would say that is where we are headed as a nation. With many more about to become unemployed, the stage is set for, yet again, more “come-to-the-rescue” government bail-outs. Not to mention government overreach as displayed in the recent stock market grab for power where we naively thought was a free market that granted the little guy freedom to trade.
Getting back to the problem with the French Revolution. It is still debatable what Napoleon’s power really was. It seemed as if he was granted almost unlimited power. He was basically an emperor, possibly even more so, an absolute monarch than King Louis XVI. After Napoleon fell, France restored the monarchy! Except they seemed to be in a better position with a fledgling republic.
One of its founding articles was that “Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally or through his representatives, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes.”
This was a radical idea at the time. In other words, laws come from its citizens and not from kings or God. Those laws should apply to everyone equally. It brings into question the nature of people’s rights. These types of ideas and questions shape our ideas of how society should rule itself.
And now, we question it today. I believe society is coming to grips with whether or not government really is for the people, by the people. Are our unalienable rights derived from nature or God and what exactly are those rights?
So my question is, “Who gets to decide what the rule of law actually is?”
Those currently making the rules look a little more like that of the mob in the movie, “Gladiator”. The following quote says it all:
“Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still, they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum.”
It refers to keeping society satiated and distracted by the horrors of the coliseum. In other words, mob mentality rules. It certainly seems like that right now, doesn’t it?
Except, I'm holding on to this truth:
I’m holding onto the truth of God’s Word. It’s what we have that teaches us wisdom.
Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Matthew 28:18-19, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…”
Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations…”
So regardless of what society may say, I hold onto these immutable truths. We are not autonomous. We are hopelessly fragile and weak without God. I surrender to His authority because He sent His son to reconcile the world to Himself.
Jesus was the greatest revolutionary of all time.
What made Jesus a revolutionary was His utter rejection of doing things the world’s way. Jesus turned everything they thought they knew on its head. He not only said, "love your neighbors" but upped the ante by telling us to love our enemies.
I follow Him and Him alone. Even if it means having to live completely counter-culturally. Because ultimately, it is His will that will play out in the end.
No matter what.