An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach
Fourth in a Series
Ruth J. Smith
Have you ever embroidered? A basic stitch of embroidery requires you to take a stitch and then you put your needle in at about half of the way through that stitch and make your next stitch. You are always moving forward, but also going back a half stitch.
My story of the journey with the Principle Approach cannot move forward without including this important step in my “thinking” process. What was my view of history? I realized that my view of history is really my view of God.
When I was first introduced to America’s Christian history, I had to deal with the idea that God was in control. That He determined the events of history. That He put the “kings” or rulers on the throne.
That wasn’t the idea of history which had controlled my thoughts. There were many other ideas: there was a great conspiracy controlled by the people with the wealth in the world and they were controlling the events of history and/or Satan was in control, carrying out his plan. Some have taught that there are cycles of history, and so go man’s ideas. But what does the Scripture teach?
I had to search the Scripture to determine a Biblical view. Taking some key words and using my concordance I began to search. The Lord lead me to some key verses which began to change and shape my thinking:
Proverbs 8:15-16 – “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”
Daniel 2:20-21 – “Daniel answered and said, blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”
Daniel 2:37 – “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.”
Daniel 5:20-21 – “But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.”
Could I deduce anything from these verses except that it was God who chose our rulers? Then I had to ask myself, why would God ever give us evil rulers? The answer again is found in Scripture:
Jeremiah 18:1-10 – “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”
The answer was there in Jeremiah, as well as many other Scriptures: What has that nation done with the principles of the Word of God? If a nation lives according to the principles of the Word of God, God will bless that nation. But when a nation turns from the principles of His Word, God cannot bless that nation and will send rulers who reflect the character and actions of the people.
From these and other Scriptures, my view of history changed. I realized that God is in control of history. As I study history, I must look to see God’s Hand in each nation at any period of history.
This changed my life and thinking. It was not only my view of the history of nations, but the view of my life which was changed. God was in control. I needed to trust in His leading in each event. When the days seemed dark, when events happened which weren’t what I had hoped (or even prayed for), I had to trust that God was working His will in my life.
One of those darkest times came when my husband of nearly 36 years was taken home to be with the Lord through cancer. As a human, I had to ask the Lord why? Again I had to search the Scriptures and be reminded that it is God who gives life and it is God that takes life. I couldn’t understand why this would be His will, but I had to rest in knowing that it was His will.
A Providential view of history isn’t just for the study of history in the classroom or in the realm of politics, but it is in our lives as we walk daily in the steps that He leads. Our confidence and faith must be in the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings! Through the darkest days, He has a plan and purpose and is working that plan in our lives for His glory!
Have you considered your view of history? Not only for your study of the past, but your view of the events of today? Do you desire to think further on these ideas? Let me recommend our most recent study, Restoring America’s Biblical Foundations. Two of the lessons in this study are dedicated to The Providential View of History. Let me encourage you to consider this study for yourself, your family, your church, your friends, or the faculty of your school. As our View of History (Our View of God) does have an effect in all of life and living.