God in history, by MP
You may remember my post a few weeks ago https://www.penelopewallace.com/the-bible-1900-years-on-questions-2/ in which I started wondering about looking for God’s actions in post-Biblical history.
My friend retired vicar Mike Payne responded instantly with some thoughtful comments that I think provide a very good place to start, and he has kindly allowed me to reproduce them as a guest post. This also reassures me that I am not the only person who finds the question interesting.
All history is God’s history.
God is at work in individuals (and communities and countries) all the time. Sometimes we see the evidence for that, eg theological reformers such as Luther, social reformers such as Wilberforce, Elizabeth Fry, the missionary societies etc etc.
But many, many times (perhaps the vast majority) God is working His purpose out through unsung, and probably largely unknown, folk quietly doing their best to love God and love their neighbours as themselves.
History often seems to be about wars, inventions, voyages of discovery and so called “Great” people doing x, y, and z etc etc.
Whilst many inventions, particularly in medicine, transport and communication are wonderfully staggering and momentous all could (should?) be seen as outworkings of the amazing brain God has given human beings in the first place.
In my view God has rarely intervened in history from Jesus to the present time as He did with the Israelites in the OT because the world He created doesn’t normally have its physical laws “bypassed”.
They were bypassed originally in order to establish a chosen people, in a certain location and for a certain duration, with the 10 commandments as their bedrock on which to build their communities.
The summary of these, as you well know, is LOVE – Love God, love neighbour.
Human beings have this amazing gift of choice about whether they buy into what scripture describes – A loving God constantly interacting with His people if they have eyes to see it.
Sadly many don’t.
So in summary I think it would be a mistake to think God was (and is) going to interact with people and countries subsequent to Jesus (ie the last 1900 years) in the same way as He did from time to time with the Jews and the land of Israel.
Thank you, Mike. Until next time,