“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near…”
1 Kings 8:46 (NIV)
Prescience noun (Prē-sh[ē]en[t]s): foreknowledge of events
a. Divine omniscience
b. Human anticipation of the course of events
A few years ago I was gifted the book The Fourth Turning. It was written in 1997. In it, the authors William Strauss and Neil Howe document what they suggest to be a generational pattern in history. In general, they submit that human generations have a “seasonal” pattern and historical human events follow that seasonal pattern just as things die each winter and spring back to life in the spring. Writing over twenty years ago, and based on the generational pattern they’d identified, they correctly predicted that around the year 2020 there would be a catastrophic, global event. They even suggested a pandemic fit the bill as a potential catastrophe. Fascinating.
Their book was eerily prescient.
In today’s chapter, King Solomon calls the entire nation and all the leaders of the twelve tribes to dedicate the Temple he’d built in Jerusalem. On his knees before the altar, Solomon prays a rather long prayer of dedication. In the midst of that prayer, he prays for a future generation of his people who sin against God and are taken captive into the land of their enemies.
It was a prescient utterance.
Approximately 400 years after the events of today’s chapter, Solomon’s people will be warned again and again by the prophets to turn their hearts back to God. When they refuse, the city of Jerusalem and the very Temple Solomon is dedicating will be destroyed by the Babylonians. Solomon’s people will be taken captive and carried off into exile. Next to the Exodus out of Egypt, it is the defining event of the Hebrew people. The entire story is foreshadowed in detail within Solomon’s prayer.
Another 400 years after the final exiles return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, Jesus and His disciples find themselves leaving the Temple just days before Jesus would be crucified. Jesus tells His followers that every stone of the Temple would be thrown down and destroyed. In 70 A.D., just 40 years (or one generation) after He made this statement, the Romans did exactly that.
Jesus’ statement was prescient.
Along my spiritual journey as a disciple of Jesus, I have come to believe what I once heard U2’s Bono utter in an interview: “I think things are already written.” He belongs to a long line of people who made the same observation using different words. Looking back on my own life journey, I see certain events and relationships that I have no doubt were meant to be. Even if I didn’t have the prescience to see them on the road ahead of me, it is obviously clear in 20-20 hindsight.
As a person of faith, this gives me both comfort and hope as I enter each day, each week on this life journey. I am uncertain of what this day holds. I am uncertain what this week holds. I am, however, certain of who holds both this day and this week. Things are already written. There is a Great Story being told by the Author of Life. My role is to surrender, to follow, and to keep pressing on.
Lace ’em up.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.