Beit She’an is one of the oldest cities in the world. At one time it was a bustling hub of activity. It was a Philistine city during Saul’s day (This is where his body and head were displayed after his death) and then a Canaanite city not conquered by Joshua. During Solomon’s day it was under Jewish rule. When I visited there 10 years ago it was nothing but ruins… devoid of inhabitants. All it’s glory of the amphitheater, homes, and business were gone… forever. The city was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 749. Such is what happens when a people forget God.
History is full of nations that didn’t honor God and have since lost their power. Ever met a Philistine? A Canaanite? A Moabite… Perrizite or Jebusite? Me either.
I recently read a quote from Nobel Prize winning Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He was evaluating why Russia had fallen the way it did in the late 20th Century.
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
According to Solzhenitsyn — fogetting God has consequences. This Nobel Laureate, imprisoned under Joseph Stalin, should be afforded some credibility in evaluating when nations forget God. For Solzhenitsyn, the error of a godless society was a tragedy.
Could this happen to the United States? I suggest it is happening. Our nation is in danger of becoming another Beit She’an. It is probable… if America doesn’t repent… that one day our cities will look like Beit She’an does today.