Nations, constitutions, and things that pass away

Day Five - Nations, constitutions, and things that pass away

We, as people living and breathing, like to feel secure. It isn’t an American thing; it isn’t attributed to a specific heritage or culture. I have seen it in nations of poverty and nations of wealth, nations with expanse and nations that are tiny dots on the map, every race, every tribe, every tongue. We like to feel like our feet stand on solid ground, like our lifestyle is stable, our loved ones, our economic status, and our way of life tightly secure.

In fact, I think we prop security up like an idol. We place all our trust in things that appear that they will not perish, that appear that they will not pass away. Strong armies, glamorous princes, a well spoken president, a bolstered reserve. In reality, history teaches us well that all of these will pass away.

In fact, they will not just pass away. They will in their time, be plucked up.

In Mark 13:1-8, Jesus teaches his disciples and those around Him:
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
(This passage, or at least portions of it, also appear in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.)
Buildings have their time. Governments have their time. Nations have their time.

We know, as amillenialists, that we are in the end times. The Old Testament believers waited for the fulfillment of the promised Messiah and we, New Testament believers, await His coming again, when all things will be made new, when our way of life is plucked up by God for something better. Knowing this, knowing what is to come, and that it is all in God’s hands, we can rest our security soundly where it belongs, with Christ. We can pray for our nation. For its place and time in history and ask God to work in and through it, but we do not place our trust in it.

What does all this have to do with our study of Ecclesiastes? Context.

Matthew Henry brings up in his commentary of Ecclesiastes that the language of the Old Testament with uprooting, or plucking up, is almost always in relation to the nation of Israel.

Here’s on example in Jeremiah 12:12-15:
Upon all the bare heights in the desert
    destroyers have come,
for the sword of the Lord devours
    from one end of the land to the other;
    no flesh has peace.
They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns;
    they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their
[a] harvests
    because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: “Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. 

God wanted his people to know that they were chosen people, they were for a place and time, because He had chosen them to bring His son to the world and thereby His saving Grace to every nation on earth. Every nation. His judgment of every nation, every ruler, every person, in their place and time, is perfected in God’s desire for all people to be saved. Thank goodness!

I have no opinions about the current political status of the nation of Israel or America, or any other nation for that matter. What I do care about is that God is secure. God is the solid rock. God is eternal, unshaken, our anchor.

 And so we wake up and we lie down. We live our lives. We pray for our leaders. We pray for our military. We pray for our first responders. We thank and praise God for each and every day He gives us safety, and wealth to be stewards of, and peace in our land.

But trust… our trust we put in Him and Him alone.

Our King of Kings our Prince of Peace. To Him be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Discussion questions:
What is your national or cultural heritage? How does this influence you?
In what way can politics or national security be a stumbling block to our faith in God? How can it be a blessing to us?

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