A surprising fact about history, wrote the noted German philosopher Friedrich Hegel, is that mankind learns nothing from history. Sadly, his observation is all too accurate.
In the nearly 20 years that I've been editing this magazine, I've studied a great deal about history. I've walked among the ruins of capitals and palaces of kingdoms and empires long since dead and wondered at what those ancient walls witnessed. As one of the greatest kings of one of those vanished kingdoms observed, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." The king was Solomon, and his words are preserved for us in the Bible (Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25, emphasis added throughout).
Solomon was renowned for his wisdom. To this day the book of Proverbs remains a treasure trove of sound guidance on how both nations and individuals can avoid the many pitfalls of life.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." This is one of those eternal truths that we've failed to learn. It's written in the decline and fall of many an empire and kingdom. Today the United States and other Western nations are stumbling down the same well-worn path others have trod before.
Where does one even start in the catalog of our massive, seemingly unsolvable national problems? In spite of having the world's most powerful military, America hasn't won a war in decades. Barely a generation ago it was the greatest lending nation in the world; now it's the world's greatest debtor. It can't even control its own borders against an onslaught of illegal immigrants, gang members and drug dealers while some of its citizens are cruelly beheaded by jihadists who vow to bring terror to the nation's shores.
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people," wrote Solomon in Proverbs 14:34 (New International Version). As explained in this issue, America's moral corruption is a disgrace not just to its people, but to the entire world.
Years ago another man renowned for his wisdom—Abraham Lincoln, later to become the 16th president of the United States—spoke other words that sound eerily prophetic when we consider the sad state of the nation today:
"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us . . . If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
Could a nation really die by suicide? Lincoln certainly thought so—in fact, he knew so. Later, in the midst of a civil war that was tearing the nation apart, he wrote: "We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God . . . We have become . . . too proud to pray to the God that made us."
He told the nation what it needed to hear rather than what it wanted to hear. He felt a deep responsibility to the country he loved. So do we at The Good News. We grieve over the direction of a country that is turning its back on God, and the plagues we are bringing on ourselves as a result. Join us in praying Your Kingdom come—turning to God to ask for His forgiveness for our sins and that we not perish by national suicide.