Many of us who were born in the teens of this century and grew up through the 20’s and 30’s have the perspective of seeing our nation and our society prior to a great change taking place in the lives and conduct of a people. In seeking to convey the damaging effects some of these changes have brought about, I have discovered that many people born since about 1945 often just aren’t aware of these changes. They have been gradual and sometimes subtle, but changes have occurred – changes which I believe have had a very strong adverse affect on our society.
It’s easy to see that these are turbulent times. I don’t need to make a list of the writhings through which we are going, but just to mention one, take a look at “terrorism“. It isn’t confined any longer to isolated areas of the world. It’s hitting every area of our planet. This one trouble is just an example of many other strong forces – devious forces – set loose in our world. As I write this, . . . over 100 people are suffering through their 12 day bottled up in an airplane on the ground in Damascus, Syria, only 500 yards from the buildings of airport, yet only a breath away from total destruction. All of these people, including some Americans, are the innocent victims of a sociopolitical shakedown by a few extremists who have lost all concern for the value of human life. What’s behind all this? Well, some of the changes that I see which have caused these troubles are [as follows]:
1. DECLINING AUTHORITY. The offices of kings and presidents have reached an all-time low. Respect for law-enforcement officers has skidded to the bottom. The teaching profession is no longer a seat of authority. Parental guidance has, for the most part, been a washout. What’s the problem? I believe the whole problem stems from a turning away from God. Our Bible says, “. . . there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God“. Today, we are inclined to respond to authority only after we have checked it out to see if it is suited [to] us. It may come as a shock to many, but God used some pretty pagan world leaders to bring about the kind of change He desired in His people Israel! For example the Lord says to Cyrus, the founder of the Babylonian empire, “For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I call you by name, and bestow on you a title of honor THOUGH YOU DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE ME” (Isaiah 45:4). Or take the pharaohs, the monarchs of Egypt. God sent a handful of people into bondage there, and they became and mighty nation under the despotic rule of these pagan emperors.
We don’t have the right to pick and choose whom God will have to rule over us. I had no choice as to who was to be my father. AND he had no choice as to whom God was forming in my mother’s womb. But according to God’s word, “All the days ordained for me were written in your (God’s) book before one of them came to be” (139:16).
Peter said, “Submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those were good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God” (1 Peter 2:18-19).
The humanistic philosophy and the libertarian point of view say that the individual man is the ruler of his own destiny. This has pervaded our entire society, and when we come into a personal encounter with our Lord, many of us still . . . cling to that “right” to pick and choose whom we will allow to “father” us. The very essence of FATHERHOOD is AUTHORITY. It starts with God, the Father, and comes down to us from him and in whom he chooses.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 10, April/May 1981.