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From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:
Sometimes it is hard to realize that nothing in this world lasts forever. It extends all the way from nations, to love, to corporations, and even to our pets, whose mortality we don’t like to contemplate. One of the mightiest nations in the ancient world was ancient Rome. Their nation survived for nearly 1000 years from the time it was supposedly founded by the brothers Romulus and Remus on the banks of the Tiber, until it fell in 410 A.D. One young man who had lived and reveled in the streets of Rome throughout his younger years became one of the greatest theologians in church history. His name was Augustine, and after being told that the city of Rome had been sacked, he said, “All earthly cities are vulnerable. Men build them and men destroy them. At the same time there is the City of God which men did not build and cannot destroy and which is everlasting.”
Catastrophes are, well, catastrophic. The fall of Rome was not only inconceivable to those who felt secure in the city and nation, but when it happened, it had to be one of the most terrifying experiences they ever lived through. Their security was gone. The enemy was not only at the gates, but had burst through. What would become of the inhabitants? As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” but it turned out to be shocking how quickly it could fall.
The kingdom of God – or the City of God as Augustine referred to it – wasn’t built in a day, either. It is still being built. It was established and founded by the Lord Jesus Christ who was God with us, who proclaimed “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” We can forget, if we’re not careful, that we aren’t just Americans, or Canadians, or South Africans. We are living stones in the kingdom of God that is here, now, living and powerful.
Every nation that has ever been built up has been torn down. And that’s the way it will be until the end of time. At that point, after trampling all enemies and kings and nations under his feet, the Kingdom of God will begin in fullness and glory and timeless perfection. There will be no generals or politicians who make strategic mistakes that will doom God’s kingdom. You see, Augustine had it right: men cannot destroy that which God has decreed to be everlasting. As frightening as this world gets sometimes, as terrified and insecure as we may sometimes feel, we need to be reminded that we aren’t citizens of this world in the ultimate sense, nor of a given nation or race. We are destined for eternity and for an everlasting, invulnerable city.
Daniel 7:13-14 (NLT) – As my vision continued that night, I saw someone who looked like a man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
PRAYER: Lord, we look forward to the city not made with hands, in which righteousness dwells forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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