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Changing Times

The law of the Medes and Persians could not be changed. It was what constrained King Darius to have Daniel thrown to the lions. But who even knows what the law was? Who were the Medes, for that matter?

Mighty Rome. It was said that all roads led there. The largest amphitheatre in the world was built there. Symbolic of the power of the Nero dynasty, it represented the might of Rome’s domination of the world. Now all that is left is the ruins of the colosseum.

The British Empire.  It was said that the sun never set on it. It is no longer the world power it once was.

The National Football League. Pulled in revenues of 13 billion dollars last year. Expected more this year. But, “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”

That phrase refers to Julius Caesar’s assassination by a cadre of senators who stopped his rise to more power. Among them was his friend, to whom Caesar plaintively said, “Et tu, Brute?” The funny thing about the NFL is that it is being stabbed by its friends, the players, who rake in multi-million dollar contracts that would be available to them nowhere else. Kneeling during the national anthem is a symbolic gesture that, whether they like it or not, is seen as demeaning the flag and the nation.

What seems normal and unchangeable is not. Kingdoms rise and fall. Popular culture becomes unpopular with the next wave of some new fad. Things change. America has been a great experiment in self-governance but that will change too. Another generation of people schooled by pseudo-Marxist teachers who infect students with an entitlement mindset and loathing of our first 150 years of history, and there will be no one to stop the galloping socialism descending on the nation.

I saw this coming when I was a college student studying education. The teachers were teaching that everything is relative. In one methods class comprised of about 150 students, one student held forth for free sex in the streets. No one said anything to contradict him, so I spoke up. I defended decency from a Christian perspective. At the end of class, no one said a word to me except the professor. After everyone else left the lecture hall, he said he admired me for taking a stand. I wondered why he didn’t take a stand. Worse, I went home with the sad impression that the teachers graduating from our educational institutions had no moral compass and would bring nothing but harm to the next generation. That was part of the reason I went into campus evangelism. Secular education was not helping the overall well-being of America. Only a return to the Lord would stop the slide toward evil.

When my mother was the only one in her Soviet Russian classroom to profess belief in God and the Bible, the teacher mocked her. She told the rest of the class how stupid it was to believe the Bible because science had proved that the Bible was nothing but a fairy tale. That incident occurred under Stalin’s rule during what he called his first Five-Year Plan. Stalin’s ideas did not work out very well for humanity. Between 20 and 60 million people forcibly lost their lives thanks to the Soviet regime. Ten million Ukrainians were essentially starved to death because Stalin demanded all of their wheat. Nothing was left to the people of the Ukraine.

But that changed too. After seventy years of communist brutality, the Soviet Union fell.

But the argument that science has proved the Bible wrong continues. Now it is in our own public schools. Worse, it has infected our seminaries. Preachers go the pulpit with little confidence that when they read the Bible they can really say, “This is the Word of God!” Instead they give options. Maybe it means this, maybe something else. Maybe it is figurative. Perhaps it is poetic and therefore not to be taken for what it actually says. Maybe the flood story was phenomenological, probably the eyewitness account of Shem handed down orally through generations to Moses who finally wrote it down. So for us to say it was worldwide is to overextend what Shem saw, who could only see his little part of the world. What inventions man comes up with so as not to take God’s word as He meant it and inspired it! Sadly, in our day, it is the minority who hold to God’s inspiration of the Bible which gives us an infallible testimony of the past.

In this changing world there is one thing that does not change. David made the claim that God’s word is unchangeable. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

The following verses are attributed to John Clifford and make the point well.

Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,’ said I,
‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’

And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”

The times they are a changing, but the Bible is still the same. It is a sure anchor of the soul. Its gospel continues to bring hope to the vilest of sinners. Its promises continue to uphold believers. Its truths continue to transform lives that were once almost worthless into trophies of grace. Its message is going to the ends of the earth and is opening blind eyes.
Open Doors reports that Muslims are coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers. One Lebanese pastor reported, “The church has grown dramatically in the past years. We had one worship service on Sundays, now we have two. Both services are packed. We now have some twenty-five house churches.”

When Israel became an independent state in 1948 there were only twelve believers in Jesus living there. As of 2012, there were 20,000. There are an estimated 300,000 Messianic Jews worldwide and it is reported the numbers are growing rapidly.

Times change. Nations change. People change. Even the NFL changes (and not for the better). But the word of God is a constant in this sea of change. We will do well if we do as the songwriter said, “Put your trust in things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

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