Friday, June 21, 2019

Interrelationship in History

Interrelationship in History

 The reputation of Professor Menas preceded him.  If you came into the classroom when he was closing his roll book, he would not reopen it to mark you as "present."  The other thing he did was that only the highest score had an A, all others had B and the rest.  But he was a great teacher.  He made History interesting.  When he got excited about what he was teaching us, Professor Menas dramatized what he was narrating.  As when it came to describing wars, he stood up from his desk made bomb noises and air boxed.  More importantly, perhaps, to Professor Menas history was not just a collection of names, dates, and events, but a series of interrelated events.  Each meaningful event in History was a reaction or response to a previous one.  

 For example, there is a reason why Spanish royalty gave Columbus their support for the trip across the ocean, Spain was one the first monarchies with a united kingdom in Europe.  No longer concerned with inner-territorial issues, they decided to look outside of Spain.  No event is isolated from others.

This view of History also applies to the Biblical view of History; even when we factor in God's continual involvement in human History.  As our lesson states, God sometimes caused events to happen, and sometimes He allowed them to happen to achieve His purpose.

 We consider the Babylonian army's invasion of Judah.  This invasion was not an isolated incident without historical context.  The Babylonians wanted to invade Judah because Judah had precious objects they liked and wanted.  To understand this, we have to go back to Judah's History to the era of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah.  When Hezekiah ruled, he purposed in his heart to reform Judah so that Judah would be in harmony with God's law.  In moments of crisis, he prayed to God and consulted with the prophets (Isaiah 37).  The King wanted to do God's will.  But, when he got sick in older age, God sent a message to King Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah: "put your affairs in order" (Isaiah 38:1).  Hezekiah refused to do God's will this time (2 Chronicles 32:25).  He pleaded for healing and extra time to live.  King Hezekiah felt entitled because if his long years of faithfulness to God (Isaiah 38: 2 – 3).  The Lord granted Hezekiah's petition, and as a sign to Hezekiah, the Lord made the Sun turn one hour back. But, this unleashed a series of events that proved to be the beginning of the undoing of Hezekiah's reform.

Puzzled by the strange phenomena of the Sun going backward, the Babylonians studied this event wanting to know what happened.  They inquired and found out about Hezekiah's petition to God.  So, they set out to meet Hezekiah and really to find out what kind of God can control the Sun's movements.  When the Babylonians showed up, Hezekiah made no mention of God.  Instead, the King  "shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not" (Isaiah 39: 2).  The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to rebuke Hezekiah. We read in verses 3 through 7,

 Isaiah 39:3 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? And from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.
Isaiah 39:4 Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
Isaiah 39:5 Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts:
Isaiah 39:6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 39:7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.

 In taking all the glory to himself, Hezekiah had piqued the interest in the Babylonians for all they saw.  The Babylonians coveted what they saw.  The Babylonians set in the hearts to return one day and acquire them. We know they kept a record about what saw because when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, he not only brought captives from among the Jews to Babylon but also some of these sacred objects his predecessors had seen.  From among these objects were the ones that Belshazzar used that fateful night when the Medo-Persians invaded Babylon (Daniel 5:3).

 In the surface, we could say that what we learn from this story is to be careful who you let in your house, and once they are in, what you allow them to see.  On a deeper level, we learn that today's mishap has farther repercussion than just our immediate lives.  The adverse consequences will be felt generations after.  Just look at Adam and Eve.  We are still paying for their mishap.  Doing God's will and giving him the glory can save us from unnecessary suffering.  It will not spare from suffering altogether.  It will save us and others from the pain that could have been prevented. 

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