May 7, 2020
Vulnerability of Empires
A popular phrase of past generations was: “The sun never sets on the empire”. It was used to describe the greatness of the British Empire and also described a few other past kingdoms. The phrase once included Great Britain’s possession of America, but today America is known as the greatest nation in the world. Some people have described America as an idea that birthed a nation, an idea of freedom and justice for all. America is thought to be a nation where anyone can come and find success. It is a wonderful concept that has inspired many foreigners to relocate to the nation.
A national news report recently described a very contrasting picture when a foreigner who frequently visits commented on America’s internal struggles and stated his nation and others pity America. Great nations come and great nations go. There have been many nations that believed no one would ever surpass their power or authority. Decline seldom occurs overnight but its withering away is best seen from without. History records many great nations throughout the ages that fell from within because of pride and corruption. Most people have heard of the greatness of the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece Culture, or of Timbuktu in Africa around the 15th-16thth century, famous for its gold, salt, learning, and cultural centers that were a wonder in its day. They all eventually went into decline and serve as lessons for nations that follow. Of course, one has only to turn on the news to hear of current struggles in Great Britain and Brexit.
The 13 British colonies that formed America won independence from Great Britain through the American Revolutionary War (1775), a victory that started the present “greatest nation on earth”. The idea of free people, free to choose their own destiny and religion apart from a king was a novel idea. America has survived many internal and external struggles but has remained a beacon of hope for many nations and people who seek the liberty it exudes.
The Dirty Little Secret
The dirty little secret that America kept in the closet is that it does not really want freedom for everyone. There was a type of elitism in the nation at its beginning that never left. If one was to look carefully at the pictures of the original negotiations for the Declaration of Independence and the forming of the Constitution of the United States one thing might become apparent: all the participants were of one race and one gender. The signers and negotiators were all white and men. It would have been unconscionable at that time to include in those negotiations women, let alone black people. The coming of other immigrants later such as the Irish was despised. Immigrants from all over Europe and the world came to settle in America but white Americans of European descent had particular disparagement for immigrants from Japan, China, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Asia, etc. Black people fall into a whole different level of prejudice because of being brought to America in chains for slave labor. The noble speeches written in the founding documents regarding God, freedom, equality, and justice for all were the thoughts of European white men seeking a place to live out their idea of freedom that never fathomed women or African slaves as their equal.
The American Civil War (1861-1865) did not, unfortunately, settle the issue of white hatred against the rights of black people in America. Neither did black uprisings, demonstrations or civil rights laws persuade white men to willingly allow blacks into the inner sanctum of American society as equals. The election of the first black president did not signify the end of black prejudice as some had hoped. The women’s rights marches and the progressive movement of white and black women into politics in 2018 seemed to have done more to ignite the inner rage of American white men than subdue it. To be fair black men and other races also deny equality of women with them, so some issues are inherent in the male ego.
The Problem of Arrogance and Elitism
The arrogance and elitism of American white men have long roots that reach all the way back through the pride shown in the likes of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, some European Kings, and up to today’s American President. From the error of Adam in the Garden of Eden to the madness of Adolf Hitler (whose ideas were inspired by American racism) to the lawlessness of America today, we have seen the pride of men blossom out of control. And yet with all the history and its consequences behind us, men today still do not seem to comprehend the flaw of male pride or the God who subdues it. The arrogance of men defies submission to Divine authority greater than him but yet, as present American politics proves, men willingly submit under male leadership they consider unreasonable or weaker than them when it promotes male dominance. The bible that predates all the men aforementioned clearly states that: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Pro 16:18). Just as Lucifer continues his attempts to disprove God’s sovereignty, so man continues his attempts to prove his superior power. The Lord who has already defeated Satan laughs at man’s attempts (Pro 1:26). God spoke His conclusion on the matter of pride before the campaigns of Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, tyrant European Kings or Trump. Yet each man dared to believe he was different or would have different results. Men keep challenging the Lordship of God and God keeps overthrowing man’s arrogance because he refuses to stay in proper alignment.
Greatness has been granted to men who recognize first the greatness of God, walk in humility, and practice respect for others. God gives us a biblical history of great men, their power and successes as well as their failures for the purpose of our learning and to prevent the futility of experiencing the same falls others suffered. It is the fool that does not learn from history, but God gives us examples of right and wrong ways and then advises us to choose the right way. What could be clearer? God has shown men what authority looks like in Himself. He has revealed Himself as a warrior in battle, tender and compassionate, willing to listen and make an agreement with subordinates, willing to show meekness and vulnerability in the flesh, kindness and patience with children, having a readiness to defend the weak, knowledgeable and wise in decisions, equal with counterparts, a good provider, husbandman and Father. Out of all the characteristics God has revealed as examples of leadership and authority, many men have only learned ruthlessness toward others and greed for more power. Those are the characteristics we see in American male leadership today and that is the reason why America is failing as a leader.
America has prospered while mistreating people because of race, gender, nationality, and economic status but the only learned lesson appears to be: do it again and with greater zeal. White hatred of other ethnicities and the abuse of their children show that America’s arrogance and elitism continues to the present. Regardless of the lessons from other nations who oppressed the vulnerable for wealth; the elite of America think: why not. Regardless of the past repercussions of oppression and slavery, the lessons learned seem to be: do it again. Regardless of the ultimate overthrow of many arrogant tyrants of the past, American elitists see only the wealth and power yet to be won. News reporting and public rebuke along with protests appear to be the only hindrance that prevents the repeat of past atrocities. Poor leadership ruins people from the top because leaders set the pattern that people follow. Past economic downfalls resulting from misuse and abuse seem to have taught this elite generation nothing. Everything that has a beginning also has an end, and the end of good things always seems to come too soon. A bible story tells of a man who had too much grain to store that he decided to pull down his barn and build a bigger one. God saw and despised his pride so much that He declared: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Lk 12:20)” The lessons God teaches us through the bible and history are to keep us from being greedy fools, but America’s fatal flaw seems to be greed for more wealth (“For the love of money is the root of all evil…,” 1Ti 6:10). The fact that other nations are expressing pity rather than admiration for America reveals a nation in decline from greatness and becoming a fool.
The arrogance of America is not a new practice but the same as other nations led to ruin and downfall. When decline starts, inertia makes it difficult to stop. The culture of America is derived from a history of aristocracy and nations who suffered decline from similar issues. The best of kingdoms who impoverished and enslaved people were subject to destruction from internal and external forces because God stands against oppression. King Solomon taught us about the futility of seeking pleasures that lead one’s heart astray: “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Pro 27:20)”. The lust for money and power brings its own downfall because its thirst cannot be quenched.
The words “equal” and “equality” denote a sharing or dividing with others the comparable opportunities and privileges of life that are freely provided by the Heavenly Father. If God “…maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Mt 5:45)” who is a man to make a distinction. God does not withhold His bounty because of race, nationality, or gender. The scriptures states:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Act 10:35
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28
It is clear from scripture that every nation and person who accepts God and does right is acceptable as an heir of God. It is man’s greed and prejudice that goes against God’s will to provide equally for all His children and it is God who pulls down a man and his systems that perverts God’s plan for equality. The gospel reveals protection for the poor and vulnerable through human leaders but when they fail, God brings His own justice.
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead. Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways: …So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. Job 34:24. 27-28
At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. Deu 24:15
The cry of the oppressed and the abuse of a wife are also attended by God:
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Mal 2:15
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1Pe 3:7
The submission of a woman to her husband is backed up by the strength of God when a man uses his power to abuse her. The scriptures above reveal that misbehavior of any man in authority against the vulnerable should be judged by man’s authority but if not, God will in due time administer His judgment. When men insist on ruling this nation alone, they carry the responsibility alone for its failure. God originally gave authority over the earth to both male and female and that authority has been restored in Christ Jesus, but even Christian men refute it. Nations deteriorate when God has to come in to judge leadership who dishonor Him by manifesting a wrong image of authority that brings no glory to God, the Father. If America cannot learn and walk out its promise of equality and justice for all men under God as promised, then the nation makes void its purpose for existing because that was its primary distinction from other nations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Ps. 33:12
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Pro 1:7