Yet our nation-builders chose a solid foundation!
In searching out a memorial plaque to a Jewish relative while spending time with family in the heart of London, I marvelled at the magnificent statues paying tribute to nation-builders who followed Christ.
Among them were Robert Raikes, William Tyndale and General Gordon of Khartoum – men who truly denied themselves as they took up their cross to follow Jesus; and in so doing left a legacy which no amount of this world’s wealth could ever match.
They had certainly taken to heart the Saviour’s warning, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” along with his call to build on the rock of his words rather than on the sand without foundation (Mark 8:36; Matt 7:24-27).
True Heroes of the Faith
Robert Raikes was the founder of the Sunday School movement, through which generations of children were taught about the love of God through his one and only Son. Tragically, few attend these days and fewer still have any knowledge of God’s laws and commands; is it any wonder that we live in an increasingly lawless society?
William Tyndale was burnt at the stake for daring to translate the Bible into English nearly 500 years ago – and his dying prayer was that God would open the King’s eyes to its enduring truths! His prayer was answered; the Bible became the world’s best-seller and Britain became a great nation built upon God’s laws. Thankfully, our present Queen is already a follower of Jesus, as she makes quite clear in her annual Christmas messages. But it’s the eyes of many of her subjects that need to be opened.
Nation builders like Raikes, Tyndale, and Gordon truly denied themselves and took up their cross to follow Jesus, leaving behind an unmatched legacy.
General Gordon won many battles for Britain before losing his life in the defence of Khartoum. He declined both a title and financial reward from the British government, but after some persuasion accepted a gold medal inscribed with a record of his 33 military engagements. It became his most prized possession.
After his death in 1885, however, it could not be found. It was only later, when his diaries were unearthed, that it was discovered how, on hearing news of a severe famine, he had sent the medal to be melted down and used to buy bread for the poor. He had written in his diary, “The last earthly thing I had in this world that I valued I have given to the Lord Jesus Christ today.”1
Gen. Gordon was a Christian who knew where his treasure lay. Are we as willing to heed Jesus’ teaching not to invest in this world’s treasures, but in the eternal kingdom where moths and vermin cannot destroy, nor thieves break in and steal (see Matt 6:19-21)?
God’s Allowance of Disaster
As I turned to peer through the trees of the Thames Embankment, I was impressed by our ultra-modern skyline with its strange but interesting shapes piercing the heady atmosphere of this bustling city. The pointed, pyramid-like structure of the Shard is uncomfortably close to what I imagine the Tower of Babel to have looked like. It certainly seems to echo the arrogant boast of the ancients about making a name for themselves with a tower that reaches the heavens (see Gen 11:1-9).
But how fragile this all is, for just a few miles west stands the blackened skeleton of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, an ugly memorial to the 80 people who perished in the inferno there on 14 June – victims, it seems, of poor design and construction.
When New York’s 110-storey Twin Towers came crashing down at the hands of terrorists in 2001, we were understandably shocked at the depth of depravity shown by fanatical Islamists. But did we ask if God was perhaps using a ruthless people to bring us to our senses, as the Prophet Habakkuk discovered to his shock in ancient times?
Are we as willing to heed Jesus’ teaching not to invent in this world’s treasures, but in the eternal kingdom where moths cannot destroy, nor thieves steal?
Of course, I am in no way trying to justify the motivation of those who committed this atrocity, but the Twin Towers clearly represented the Western world’s focus on material wealth, and of its greed and avarice often at the expense of the poor and needy. Having said that, the perpetrators of that terrible disaster, in which some 3,000 perished, saw it more as an attack on the West in general, and Israel in particular. After all, New York is home to more Jews than any city in the world, including Tel Aviv!
Like the ruthless Babylonians of old, the terrorists hated the Jews above all. And the shocking thing was that God allowed the attack to happen, as he had done in Habakkuk’s day when the Temple was destroyed and the Jews were carried off into exile.
The Will to Fight
As we have turned our backs on the God who made Britain great, the prospect of being invaded by enemies forcing us to worship foreign gods is not far-fetched. To a certain extent, it has already happened. As Dr Clifford Hill made clear last week, Britain was only spared from Nazi invasion by a nationwide response to repeated calls for prayer from King George VI, the Queen’s father.
Have we the spine, or the will, to resist the invading forces of evil in the gathering gloom of politically-correct immorality now threatening our land? Or have we resisted God so long that we are no longer able to distinguish good from evil?
But if you still have (spiritual) ears to hear, God is concerned for your soul. It is the most precious thing you own. If you store up treasure on this earth, who will have it when you’re gone?
I am not only addressing those on the fringe of church life, or even outside of it altogether. There are many Christians who spend far too much time concerned for the things of this world rather than pointing men and women to Christ, who alone can satisfy our souls. The cross is the way to life. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is no other way to eternal life. Preach the cross; preach Jesus. Win souls for Him!
1 Gordon, S. Cuckoos in the Nest. Christian Year Publications, p123.
Copyright 2017, Published on 04/08/2017 Prophecy Today UK-All rights reserved