Remember that old nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty, the old egg who sat on a wall and fell off, but who couldn’t be put back together again in spite of the best efforts of “all the king’s men and all the king’s horses”? Or the old children’s Christian song about the foolish man who built his house on the sand and how the walls “all came tumbling down”? There are great lessons to be learned from such simple stories and rhymes.
Edward Gibbon, the author of the seminal work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, examined and studied the decline and fall of the mighty Roman Empire. At the conclusion of his research, he attributed the fall of mighty Rome to five key things:
1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses (giveaways) for the populace that led to laziness and complacency.
3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
4. The building of gigantic armaments and armies to protect themselves from outsiders when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
5. The decay of religion–faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds awfully familiar to me. But instead of focusing on the nation, we need to focus on ourselves first, for if God’s people are not different from the world when it comes to the five things Gibbon discovered, will not our own personal lives all come tumbling down, too? Statistics say that those who identify themselves a born-again believers are not different that the world in most of these things: our attitude towards family and sexual mores, wanting handouts instead of being willing to earn things by the sweat of our brow, the pursuit of pleasure and comfort while others are starving and in torment, erecting all sorts of mechanisms to protect us from others who can hurt us but turning a blind eye to the disease that is within our own flesh and spirit, a faith that has become watered-down, ritualistic and that has lost meaning and power to make us different from the world around us.
I fear that the diseases that led to the fall of Rome will lead eventually to the fall of America, but before that happens, we need to look hard at the church (that’s His disciples – we ourselves – not buildings!) and see if we aren’t already crumbling from within for all these reasons. If you look at your life and feel that you’re doing just fine, you may be. But someone once said that the greatest sin is to have no sense of sin. We can all be guilt of that far too easily.
“Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”
PRAYER: Father, turn Your Spirit loose to search each corner of our hearts and reveal to us the corruption that is within us as individuals, as Your church, and as a nation that You brought to power to do good in this world. Let us repent with bitter tears and return to You in all humility and trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>