Friday, October 14, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

What has been will be again.
what has been done will be done again/
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

This morning during our Bible time we read about Elisha prophesying to the future leader of Syria, Hazael in 2 Kings 8.  God allowed the prophet, Elisha, to see Hazael's evil heart and the murderous plan he had to kill the ruling Syrian king and then take the throne.  In seeing Hazael's future, Elisha also saw what the Syrian king would do to the Israelites.  I thought to myself...Syria.  Israel.  Conflict. Nothing new under the sun.

In the book study classes I'm teaching, one class is reading The Drinking Gourd (also included Follow the Drinking Gourd) and the other class is reading Out of the Dust.

In Follow the Drinking Gourd a family of slaves is risking their safety and their lives to reach FREEDOM.  Others assisting them working on the Underground Railroad are risking their lives and safety to help the slaves reach FREEDOM.  FREEDOM is valuable!  FREEDOM is worth risking your life just to attain.  I tell our kids and the students in my class to never take FREEDOM for granted.  It is lost all too quickly and is hard to gain back, just look at history...Please!

Having the FREEDOM to homeschool is such a gift!  I'm thankful for everyday that we live in a country where we can homeschool, but I never take it for granted as the right can be taken away.

On a quick search I found at least 39 countries where it is actually illegal to homeschool.  Included in the list are:

Germany, Greece, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, Iceland, Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, Cuba, Greenland, Guatemala, Turkey, Brazil, and China to name a few.

Freedom is such a gift and if we truly examine history when people want for a change and turn over personal rights and freedoms to leadership or government in hopes that they'll be taken care of...they lose.  Remember, nothing new under the sun.  Just ask the Israelites what happened when they wanted a King and then make your way down the history timeline.

Before I leave the topic of slavery, let's not fool ourselves and think it's no longer around.  Just as evil is alive and thriving, so is slavery.  In fact, according to International Justice Mission,
More children, women and men are held in slavery right now than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade: Millions toil in bondage, their work and even their bodies the property of an owner.
This is an outrage that it still exists.  Nothing new under the sun.

In the Out of the Dust book study we're all getting a glimpse of what true poverty, tragedy, and desolation look like.  The people who lived through the Depression and Dust Bowl experienced hardship I don't think any American now knows unless they lived through it in their youth.  We are a blessed and spoiled people.  We don't understand the hardship experienced in the 30's.  My heart aches for what Americans during this era experienced, but what amazes me is their willingness to work hard (for meager pay), persevere, and be strong during this tough time.  I've watched many videos from survivors of the Dust Bowl on Living History Farm. These were tough times!  What the farmers of Middle America experienced caused me to think on the plagues Egypt experienced.  In addition to dust storms, those in the Dust Bowl saw drought, destruction, grasshoppers eating everything, including their clothing, famine, then day turning into night, death, disease, etc.

Finally, thinking on the poverty of the era.  The families we're reading about in Out of the Dust basically lived in extreme poverty, yet if someone stumbled onto their doorstep, or if a baby was born, they continued to find ways to give.  If we turn back to history, God tells us, "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."  Give to the poor, don't expect someone else to take care of it.  God's command was to us, the individual.  Doing without, scraping by, being creative in providing for yourself and your family is nothing new and in this process give some of what you're blessed with to someone else.

There are many other correlations I've seen through our learning, but these were the few that have occupied my thoughts.  Disunity, strife, conflict, poverty, slavery, greed...nothing new under the sun.

I cannot close on the negativity though.  I also believe that faithfulness, truth, perseverance, hard work, honesty, humility, surrender, obedience, giving, compassion, kindness, and sacrifice are nothing new under the sun.  We each just need to make a choice where we're individually going to invest ourselves.

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