Saturday, January 12, 2008
The Long View of History
A brief post for this morning. I recently began reading the first of a four part series on the Crusades. Being a history buff of sorts, I had something resurface in my mind that has always bubbled up there from time to time.
The average lifespan of a human being is 70 years, give or take a few years, and depending on where in the world you are. For someone growing up in Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch they have ever known. The United States is less than 300 years old, and this is the only country and the only mode of living we have ever known. No "foreign power" has ruled the United States in my lifetime, and hasn't since the Revolutionary War.
When you read in the Crusades about the Muslim armies being in control of a region for 300 years, or Western powers being in control of a region for how many hundred years, think about it a moment. For those living and growing up in those regions, that is the only life they knew -- despite the history.
Look at the history of the Balkans, specifically the current controversy in Serbia and Kosovo. To the Serbians, Kosovo is the cradle of their civilization, but they had actually lost sovereignty over it until the Ottoman Empire finally fell. That goes back a long time. There are many in Serbia who weren't alive then, and certainly not since the Middle Ages. There are Muslims in Kosovo today -- a region now largely Albanian Muslim -- that weren't around when Kosovo was indeed the cradle of Serbian civilization. Muslim majority in that region is all they've ever known. Yet these old resentments, hatreds and outraged conquests go back centuries. They've been handed down from father to son. And some think a UN or NATO tribunal is going to settle it all. Yeah. Right.
It is enough to muddle the mind, but we have a Sovereign God who doesn't miss a beat. He WAS around when everything first took place, and even before then. He knows who did what, who was responsible for what, who had evil motives, who had noble motives, and who had the "right" to the land in dispute. And that's another point. All this land and territory over which people shed blood is actually all His land to begin with. We forget that. He is the one who originally determined that mankind should be scattered over the world, and formed into people groups and nation-states.
Revelation and other Bible prophecies speak of a future attempt at a world government. Indeed, they are trying to form it now, some openly and some not so openly. In the end, it will fail and millions of people will die due to the evil desire of some to control everyone else. And in the end, only one history will matter. The one He tells.