Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Rise And Fall of Power

Persian Short Sword, Bronze ca. 800 B.C.
I like history, reading about history, yes, but seeing the left over pieces of history that have managed to survive the ravages of time which sit behind glass cases in museums, this is fun for me. I have been able to purchase a couple of interesting pieces of history for myself over the years. One such item is a bronze Persian dagger sized sword covered in a thick green layer of oxidation, the certificate of authentication sporting a date of around 800 B.C. During the time at which this dagger was forged and used, the Assyrian Empire ruled in what is now Iraq and Iran. What became of this powerful empire you might ask? Well, after several centuries of various rulers from Babylonia and Assyria, the Empire was eventually conquered by that Macedonian General Alexander the Great. The Empire Alexander had fought for several years to build crumbled when he died at a young age and his conquests were split between his four generals. Though the Greek cultural revolution changed life in the known world for centuries to come, the various empires which Alexander's generals and their descendants ruled were also eventually conquered by the infamous Roman Empire. Can anyone see a trend here? I do, very much, the rise and fall of power, armies, nations, cultures, they all come and go. I am reminded of this each time that I look upon this corroded hunk of forged metal nestled on it's display stand. I can't help but think upon the situation of the United States of America. There is a foreboding sense of gloom that can be felt in the air. Sometimes it is so thick, it is nearly palpable. The slow spiraling decline in power, influence, stability, everything seems to be on the brink of collapse. Is there a good ending to this little story? Yes, a fisherman wrote several centuries ago "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25). The word of the Lord will always endure, what he says will come to pass, and I can always place my trust in this.

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