You Just Never Know

As we follow events in Russia and Ukraine, on the Temple Mount, or in far off Washington, a bit of perspective is helpful

Photo: Shutterstock

I imagine that many of you, like myself, are dizzied by the breakneck spin of “breaking news,” reports and analysis on wars, politics, unsavory scandals, and nonstop Temple Mount troubles.

Honestly, with so much information coming at us from so many sides it’s a wonder we know anything at all? Sometimes I wonder if we are getting stupider from an overload of information.

I thought it would be a good idea to take a moment with you and see if we can’t get a better perspective on what is going on in our world today. Kind of a pitstop to think about what we are thinking about before getting back into the rat race.

Imagine together with me for a moment that we live in the 15th century. A well-known historian is preparing a history of the world and shows up in his horse-drawn buggy at your house because you are known to be an intelligent person (I know this because you are reading this:) “What or who do you think is the most important events or persons of our time?” he asks.

Well, you would have several obvious choices to talk about. You could point to the Hundred Years’ War, a long and bloody battle that together with a plague killed half of the population of France, three quarters of Normandy and a third of England. Or you could point out that Joan of Arc, a teenager who turned the tide of the war is the most important person of the age.

What about the fall of Constantinople in 1453 that signaled the end of a thousand-year rule of the Roman Empire? Or maybe Columbus “discovering” America, or the Inquisition, both in 1492?

Each of these events had a major impact on the world and changed history, but none of them would be correct. It turns out that the most significant event of the century was the work of a little-known tinkerer, Johannes Gutenberg, who invented moveable type, and introduced the printing press. Without that invention there would have been no Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, or iPhone.

So as we studiously follow events surrounding Russia and Ukraine, global financial troubles, or listening to the arguments over the latest diet fad, a bit of perspective is helpful. Looking at the broad strokes of history reminds us that what looms large today easily dwindles from sight.

It seems to me that treating tweets as tragedies, or triumphs, is short-sighted (hey, the average tweet is just 33 characters short). Given the speed at which our lives are changing just because of the digital revolution alone, right now in New Delhi, Tel Aviv, or Kiev a teenager may be working on an idea that will prove more consequential than any elected official, government policy, or greedy billionaire takeover.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that we should not engage in current political, social, and religious battles being waged right now in our communities and nations. Indeed, our aim here at Israel Today is to help you read the Bible in one hand with the news in the other – to understand the times, be inspired, and engage intelligently.

What I am suggesting is that we learn from the lessons of the past, even the distant past. Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt there was no daily press or internet. Twitter was called ‘papyrus.’ The actions of Pharaoh and his court reverberated throughout the region and was on the lips (and backs) of every Israeli. The average Egyptian rejoiced or trembled depending on what the ruler decided. Few could imagine what the near future held.

Surely most would have assumed that Pharaoh’s laws and decrees would echo down through the corridors of history, as indeed they have, but only because in a small basket, nestled among some reeds, there was a baby who would be called Moses.

You just never know.

Shalom and thanks for being with us here at Israel Today.

David Lazarus

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