I was recently reading an account of the period of our history from 1900 until 1939. I saw some interesting things that I had not realized before. Then I saw that we could learn something very important here.
The period of time between 1900 and 1910 was a time of solid growth in our economy. It was stable and we were at peace as a nation. It was also a time of good Christian morality in America. Most of the population professed to be Christian and endeavored to live it. Families were solid as witnessed by the fact that the divorce rate was about 8 percent.
The next time period is known as the “Roaring ’20s” because of the growth of freedom from Christian moral standards. Modesty among women went through astounding changes in that 10-year period. Skirts went from nearly touching the ground to well above the knee. Dresses became form fitting. Women started smoking and were now permitted in all the local bars to get drunk. Dance halls came into being, and the divorce rate jumped to 17 percent!
During this time money flowed. Ford had invented the assembly line, so nearly everyone came to own a car. This greatly increased the mobility of the population. Industry was booming and skyscrapers rose everywhere. The stock market boomed.
In the middle of 1929, clear signs that something was wrong emerged. Standard Trade and Securities issued a stern warning to America about serious economic problems. Nearly everyone from the White House down either ignored or made light of the warning. On Oct. 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and with it the entire world economy. America did not recover until 1939 when Worth War II started.
Do you see a parallel with what has been going on for the last four years? The period of time we are in now was preceded by an unprecedented period of economic growth. It has also been preceded by an unprecedented growth in immorality in our nation. We have reached the point where one commentator has stated that Americans have even lost faith in the government. Why? Because, we are being lied to on a daily basis. That which used to be held dear and sacred in now mocked and ridiculed. But this time, we have outdone ourselves. We are far more immoral than those of the 1920s. We have legalized and federally funded abortions. We have legalized homosexuality in some states. These were not done in the ’20s.
In 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 22 we read the history of Manasseh, king of Judah. The Bible says that he was more wicked than any other Jewish king. The two biggest crimes that God held against him were idolatry and the shedding of innocent blood through the sacrifice of babies to one of those gods. So, the Lord condemned that nation to destruction. Then along came Josiah, who followed the Lord “with his whole heart.” God relented on that judgment during Josiah’s lifetime. Babylon conquered Judah about 11 years after Josiah’s death.
The parallel between now and the ’20s scares me. However, what scares me more is the parallel between our nation and Judah during the time of Manasseh. Were there godly people during that time? Sure. Many of the prophets lived then. Daniel and his friends lived then. But, God still destroyed that nation.
Because we are not the apple of God’s eye, do you think that we can avoid the same kind of judgment? I don’t think so. However, we can repent and maybe, just maybe get a time of reprieve like King Josiah received.
Frank F. Clark is the author of the column “Frankly Speaking.” His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.