Think about this. If making predictions is what God’s Word is all about, then human freedom is fake. But the prophets weren’t making predictions. They were making promises. You can bet your life on the difference.
As Labor Day comes tomorrow—and despite the fact that on this holiday in America, the interests of laboring people are not much heard above the songs of summer’s end—let us acknowledge, in obedience to virtues of compassion, courage, and truthfulness what some will not: The gulf between the rich and the rest is becoming so great that it is threatening the whole of our civilization.
In the year 1712, the future began. Thomas Newcomen developed the first useful steam engine. Supplanting the power of a few hundred horses to drain water from the bottom of a coal mine in Dudley, England, Newcomen’s engine enabled much more coal to come up from the earth. Therefore more power came to homes and businesses. Jobs began to multiply. The standard of living improved and, to be a rather short-spoken about it, before long people began to think that this earth was a good place to live, with a future.
Unlike gun control or our criminal justice system, which no politician will discuss, hunger and poverty have sometimes mattered to elected leaders. Yesterday, I heard President Lyndon Johnson’s voice on the radio, coming from 1964. He was declaring “war on poverty” in that famous Texas drawl. Yet how tragic was the news that followed. One out of six of us is poor; that is, has less than $23,000 for a household of four. The news story went on to report that although malnutrition is not the scourge in America that it had been before President Johnson started the Food Stamp program, unlike the poor in Johnson’s day, today’s poor are generally employed—and hungry.