If there is one thing that all nations have in common, it is a start date, and an end date. For many that end date has come and gone, for others it is a future reality. That is the way it works–some nations may survive until the coming of Christ, but most I would venture to say, over the span of history, will not.
The contributory factors of those nations are many: environmental challenges (resources); climate changes (imposed or natural); influences of other nations, both hostile (enemies) and beneficial (trading); interdependency upon other nations (alliances), as well as technological affinities. All of these factors can be significant, and just how any given nation “deals” with them can certainly affect its lifespan.
Of these things the semi-ghoulish practice of archeological “tourism” peaks our interest… as many curious souls desire to investigate the vestiges of forgone societies. We love to examine the artifacts of everyday life, the architecture of the times, the sociological practices, the religious rituals, and even the burial practices which punctuated the peoples of that era, and perhaps, those elements which contributed to their termination.
One must wonder if in the distant future some “tourists” will find their way to our shores, trouncing through the middens of a bygone era, navigating our monumental ruins, discovering a few billion digital devices, and unearthing thousands of Bibles and steeples, alongside trillions of trinkets of depravity, and simply wonder, “They had Bibles… they seemed to be god-fearing… what happened?”
I do have to wonder what will be thought of our legacy. What will those curious souls speculate as to our downfall? But alas, we are not there yet; not quite yet.
The American Experiment has been a good one in many respects, though not without its warts. We have pioneered, we have excelled, we have championed opportunity like no other nation. Yet again, not without our warts. And it’s because of those warts, I would say, from where I am standing that we do have an expiration date that is coming into focus–even the greatest of nations has an expiration date.
Though speculation will abound as to the eventual cause of our demise, and the estimates will be abundant, I would suggest that secular assessments for our downfall would fail to take into consideration the morality factor, and certainly the hand of God.
The words through the prophet Amos (Amos 8:11-12) are haunting:“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
And from the north even to the east;
They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD,
But they will not find it.“
Physical famine is brought on due to devastation of resources, or natural catastrophes which produce a lack of water or food, but that is not the fate spoken of here. Because of their (the Israelites) lack of authentic worship, because of their lack of reverence for Yahweh, because of their persistently hard hearts, the Lord Himself would withhold from them His words as judgment. They had rejected the prophetic utterance of the Lord for so long that the moment of grace had come to an end. At that point of deficiency, in desperation then they would begin to seek Him out. In exhaustion and spiritual depletion, they would vainly pursue the now withheld words of the Lord.
“But wait, Kelly. Were we talking about Israel or the USA?” … Exactly. Is this a fate for only Israel, or all those nations which flagrantly reject the counsel of the Lord?
“But, they had so many Bibles and churches.” Yes, foragers would indeed find in the wreckage of our doom an abundance of Bibles and religious buildings. One would find churches on many corners. But could those inspectors discern the condition of the hearts.
But may I suggest that the demise would not be due to the absence of written texts, but a hardness in the hearts of the people as we had been seduced to a moral void.
The skyscrapers–whatever may be left of them–will present as a testament to the technological wonders and ingenuity of our time. The libraries–of our quest for knowledge. The number of banks–to our economic obsession. The largeness of our homes–as to our love of opulence. And those Bibles, and churches as a testament to our once-sought compass of bearing.
Some unknown, but wise sage once opined:
I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her fertile fields and boundless forests, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her public school system and her institutions of learning, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good America will cease to be great.
What identifies a nation as good, is a willingness to be placed under righteous instruction. What qualifies a nation as great, is the hunger and thirst for the Word of God, a love for the Creator, and a zeal for Christ. Without those all other pursuits are trivial, and the nation will, in time, perish of famine…
This nation will one day end; there is a date which has been set. It has yet to be seen the legacy which we will leave behind.
A Special Note:
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