In “When Nations Die,” Jim Nelson Black examined the common causes behind the fall of Carthage, Greece and Rome. These powerful empires didn’t fail because they were attacked from outside; they rotted away from the inside with what Black calls “Social, Cultural and Moral Decay.” Such decay results when the people abandon traditional wisdom and values. People turn away from the mores and beliefs of the past and attempt to rewrite new ones, based on what they believe is new and more sophisticated thinking. That’s what happened to Carthage. The same process brought down the empire of Greece and then Rome. We have seen similar attitudes and consequences in Europe and Not-so-Great-Anymore Britain. And here.
You might think we would get the point. That guy you just passed on the highway with his hood up? He ignored his “Check Engine” light. If we paid attention to history, we would see a bright, flashing “Check Engine” light on the dashboard of the United States. But the prevailing attitude is to put tape over it and drive on.
This is more puzzling since we also see examples in history of nations that have returned to old wisdom and have prospered. The Old Testament is full of such examples. Rwanda is a present day demonstration of this truth.
But it’s not just any old wisdom that matters. It’s not about hanging on to old superstitions and myths. The old wisdom that is critical for national survival is grounded on a deep reverence for our Creator, God. Standing in humble awe before the One for Whom quantum mechanics is two plus two. Recognizing He just might know what works best.
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.