Dear Mr Max
I am currently finishing 1 and 2 Kings. I can’t help but notice the similarities with todays Western culture and that of the Israelites. Our culture has not only rejected and forgotten God but ridicule those who worship him. The idols are many in todays world. Am I too harsh in reaching this conclusion?
Dear Mr Max
Thanks for your thoughtful insight and for your question Abby. That stage of history as recorded in Scripture certainly bears many parallels with what we’re seeing globally today. A culture that has lost its grasp of absolutes; the deification of humankind; the need for leadership and the consequent search for ‘saving’ through human effort. All of these things and more are playing themselves out today…all over again. Accordingly, I don’t think your conclusion is too harsh at all. The only additional point I would make is to suggest that today’s times are not politically, historically or sociologically unique, and neither were the times depicted during the struggles of early Israel. Rather, these dynamics are constantly present. The reason for this is because the struggles we see in 1 and 2 Kings (and throughout Scripture) are simply a societal reflection of the broken nature of humankind. It was Augustine and then Luther who defined sin as people ‘curved in on themselves.’ They are correct; and this is what we see throughout history and in our world today. Our natural sinful tendency is to make ourselves the ‘god’ of our own lives. We deify ourselves, we glorify ourselves and we mock those who don’t conform to the self-determination model of human identity. While this is something we see in our world today, we must also remember that it is a struggle that exists in every human heart as well. Societies that lose their acknowledgment of God find themselves spiralling out of control. However, societies begin with people, and it is when people fail to recognise God in their lives, that broader societal and historical problems begin. To summarise: The parallels we see between the world today and the struggles depicted in the Old Testament, come down to two simple mistakes of the human heart and the human kind: an underestimation of the brokenness of humankind and an underestimation of the majesty of God.