That’s not quite the way Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) put it in the heart of the Great Depression of 1933. As I recall it was more like “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
And fear is a natural reaction to an event like the bloody terrorist attack on the American embassy in Libya last week. Fear evokes in us a self-preservation response just as it did in the days of FDR. For example, Damian Campbell of Survival Products, LLC did not hesitate to put that fear to practical use in a recent email communique:
I am going to make this short and sweet. Recently 4 of our fellow American’s were killed at the Libyan Embassy. These deaths were senseless, tragic, and did not have to occur. I want to share with you a new resource that I have discovered that might have saved these 4 American Lives. Nearly 5,000 concerned citizens recently pulled together to contribute their very best “survival tips” for a disaster scenario.
Shameless profiteering? Not necessarily wrong; prudent preparation for approaching disaster is a virtue. But if we’re not careful, it can mask a more profound message the event is intended to convey. Even FDR missed it.
MYTH: The events of history are random with no discernible meaning.
MythBusters accepted this case and found a plethora of clues in the book of II Kings in the Bible. This book describes the incredible life of King Solomon of Israel. Once the wisest man who ever lived, he fell from Grace when he rejected the law of God and worshiped the false gods of his foreign wives. At that point he became one of the most foolish men who ever lived. The Bible puts it like this:
And Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully,as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon (I Kg 11:6,7)
Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. (v 9,10)
Likewise, modern America rejected the law of God when she ratified the United States Constitution in 1788 (cf. Case#16). This presumptuous document makes itself and all its manmade laws “the supreme law of the land” rather than the Bible. Christians have embraced this document and confirmed it in their teaching that the Old Testament law is no longer applicable.
God’s Rod of Discipline
In response to this rebellion, God raised up three adversaries to Solomon, all described in the eleventh chapter of I Kings. They were Hadad of the royal line in Edom, Rezon who reigned in Damascus, and Jeroboam whom Solomon appointed to manage his slave labor.
Some adversaries like Rezon are external and provide marauding harassment such as occurred in Libya on 9/11/2012 and in New York City on 9/11/2001. Others, like Jeroboam are internal and serve to weaken and divide the nation such as Barack Obama. Obama like the Babylonians is nothing more than God’s rod of discipline and will be disposed of by God when he has served His purpose.
Then the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal line in Edom (I Kg 11:14)… God also raised up another adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. And he gathered men to himself and became leader of a marauding band, …. (v. 23,24) Then Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. (v 26)
The reason for this adversarial harassment was Solomon’s failure to keep God’s covenant and his statutes.(I Kg. 11:11) and His ordinances (I Kg. 11:33) God turned up the heat in hopes that Solomon would again see the light.
Because they have forsaken Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, doing what is right in My sight and observing My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David did (v 33)
The Proper Response to God’s Rod of Discipline
Unfortunately, Solomon missed the point because in I Kings 11:40 we are told that “Solomon sought therefore to put Jeroboam to death…” In striking back at Jeroboam Solomon was striking back at God.
The proper response is not to resist or shelter ourselves from God’s rod of discipline, but rather to yield in obedience so that we may eventually receive His blessing. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you” (I Pet. 5:6,7).
So how does that apply to 21st Century America? I used to think that our modern idols were more sophisticated than the carved statues described in the Old Testament. Many of them are. Among other things, they include the many government programs that FDR ushered in during the Great Depression. To this very day people look to the programs of FDR for their secular salvation. Thus, FDR himself has become an American idol.
But it is now common knowledge that the worship of Ashteroth has been literally revived in the Bohemian Grove conclave of Northern California, where world leaders gather every summer. Moreover, the pagan owl appears on the obverse of the dollar bill, introduced during the FDR era and detectable with a magnifying glass. And there is much pagan symbolism in the architecture and street layout of Washington D.C.
At any point somebody in the chain of command can stop the downward spiral by “listening and observing my statutes and my commandments” (I Kg. 11:38). God told even Jeroboam:
“Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
Case Closed: In the fear and scramble for survival that is generated by a tragedy like the Great Depression in the days of FDR and the Libya massacre today, let us not miss the deeper message in the event. America rejected God and his law with ratification of the godless United States Constitution of 1788. For over 200 years God in mercy postponed or moderated the judgment that is now being fully manifested.
For those with ears to hear, the voice of God is clearly detected in the events of history, for blessing or for cursing in response to our obedience or disobedience. In God’s promise to Jeroboam we learn that it is never too late to claim the blessing by returning to the statutes and ordinances of His law. But the time for action has arrived.