Storms and rains recently restrained the triple digit temperatures, giving welcome relief – hinting that cooler days may come. Something in the air felt refreshing, when I ventured forth to collect the paper – short for newspaper, for those who may not partake in the anachronistic practice of reading the news on thinly pieces of paper, called newsprint.
In my 10th grade world history class, the teacher urged us to read newspapers, but warned us that it would take at least eighteen months of reading the news to understand the news. This is just one of the nuggets I gathered from him.
The others included a survey exposing the hoaxes of the missing links between man and apes, and assessment of the distinctions between ancient Greece and Rome. (Greece was the real deal – Rome, the master imitator and adapter of Greece’s gifts.) Mr. Reifner never emphasized the Judeo-Christian roots that flourished along the same Mediterranean basin. He was the first to introduce me to Edith Hamilton, whose works I was too immature to pursue then. I don’t remember the textbook for class – some small paperback; for some reason, I think it was the same one Calvert School used in its curriculum for world history in the 6th grade curriculum. (by V.M. Hillyer)
But I remember his lectures. Carter Reifner’s reputation as a demanding instructor preceded him – so, I was nervous when I discovered he was my teacher. However, his lectures were like ambling along side a tour of a grand museum with a guide who knew and loved all the exhibitions. His world history classes, which did not go beyond Rome, left me with the impression current events are firmly anchored in the history of the ancients.
The headline today confirms that what happens in civilization’s cradle – Egypt – affects the world, still. (Death in Cairo-BBC) And the combatants’ determination has equally old origins. The Bible was never cited as a source in Mr. Reifner’s classes. However, it’s a useful source we might explore to better understand what’s behind the headlines.
Moses saw the conflict from afar when God showed him Abraham’s two sons – Ishmael and Isaac. (Genesis 21-22) Isaiah saw it a bit more plainly -- Isaiah 19. Egyptians are fighting each other – brothers and neighbors are killing each other, and cities against cities – and it is demoralizing! (19:2-3) But Isaiah also comforts Egypt and the watching world – comfort that is the framework for all the woes that come upon those who oppose God.
The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them. (Isaiah 19:21-23 )
God, I pray for the people who are caught up in this conflict – including the leaders of my nation – that You would stop the carnage – and show Yourself Mighty and Merciful, drawing us all to Yourself.