FRANCE AND GOD
Texts written in a color other than that of this one are quotations whose origin is communicated in bibliography.
Were they worse than others?
Now that we have seen the result of this human utopia of building a perfect people without God, we will try to understand why and how such confusion might crept and go until become established in the twentieth century, that saw us born.
The theory goes back to antiquity, since Plato, around 387 BC, was already dreaming of the ideal city, but a major factor prevailed for the setting up of such a system. It originates from the preconceived idea that has prevailed for a long time and still remains today in various circles: "God had first instituted monarchy as a mode of government".
It emerges indeed sometimes the idea that everything rises or was risen a day against monarchy, was born of a human uprising, therefore carnal.
It is certainly undeniable that during the various French revolutions and around the world, many circumstances have not necessarily been conducted according to the rules established by God. We could also add, the revolutions were they really essential, since various syntheses show us that they are generally, I quote "only parentheses of the history", and that they recreate generally after a more or less long time systems similar to those of which they precipitated the fall.
These systems having then adapted to the new norms of dominant ideology, are sometimes radically opposed to precedents, and the analogy does not blatantly appear to the mass of those who do not seek comparative analysis. However, they produce an imbalance equal to the first, whose victims have changed sides.
Although other concrete examples are easy to take all over the world, we will say that that of Russia, of which we have just seen the result concretely, is enough for us to realize how, with initially praiseworthy intentions, it is possible to to behave as badly as the one we fought before through a revolution. Would that mean, however, that all that took part in the fall of monarchy was against the will of God?
We will look together at what could have caused God to do this, and since the God of Christians is "Jehovah I Am", namely the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we will refer what the Bible tells us about the history of its chosen people, Israel. We will not examine what led God to choose this people more than another; we will simply say that we needed one and that it was this one.
It is not to extract a personal Glory from a banal human level that God wanted and still wants to manifest Himself to us. He wants to guide us in all things not for Him, but just for us. He pursues the intention to give us a dimension impossible to reach without Him, so that we live happily and in peace, already on this earth. If that had been a simply individual level, in the person of the Christian or the Hebrew, God would not necessarily have taken this example at the level of a nation. He would have just shown us His greatness through certain humans. It is quite different, however, because when we deepen the history of Israel, told through biblical texts, we quickly realize that this story is the epitome of our personal inner conflicts, and so it is easy to transpose the lived experiences of the people towards the human. The one being the reflection of the other, it is obvious that the converse is true, and we will see it further.
To be used as an example was not always easy for the Hebrew people, as it is not always easy for a man, as close to God as he is, to serve as a good example and to be followed. There is on the one hand, the observer who would wishes to receive only good examples of the one who is used for the demonstration of the power of God. It relates to idolatry. Then there is the one who is observed who would like to be only a perfect example, without having to repent of anything, second idolatry. When God, however, sends a perfect man like Jesus Christ, His son, nobody wants to practice according to the right reference, and many who claim to belong to Him boast of reacting to his opposite. What do we have to do?
The reality is indeed quite different, because the example of this reference is not enough. No one, indeed, can follow this reference until the end, the heart of each being to be first of all transformed by God through repentance and faith. So we have in Jesus Christ the example of to which we must strive toward the dimension without ever being able to reach it.
This is how we find in the biblical narratives of the history of Israel, the very example of what we are today, at the individual or collective level and the example, good or bad, arises a teaching to do or not to do. It is the eternal alternative of good and evil, in the individual or collective field! It is not however the successes that shape us the most, because failures are more profitable to us if we know how to extract the right lessons. It is in this that history must speak to us, and in particular that of this Hebrew people.
We will therefore take the time to make a little historical reminder of the Old Testament, which will allow everyone to better situate the context of the establishment of monarchy in Israel.
The first period of God's action is that of the beginnings during which the fall of Adam arrived. Adam and Eve tempted by Satan in the covetousness of knowledge, reach a dimension to which they were not yet prepared. From their union are born Cain, who will become a farmer, and Abel, a shepherd of small cattle. Cain, jealous of God's favorable look on Abel's offering, kills him. This example is certainly one of the most fundamental, since it highlights from the first steps, the need not to act on our own to cultivate our "earth" our soul. God shows us here that nothing can be perfect coming from our human dimension, and to be pleasant to Him, if not what comes directly from Him. This act is therefore the first prefiguration of the crucifixion of Jesus, by his "brothers descendants of Abraham", whose attitude was only "religious".
In this first period, which lasted from 4004 to 2234 BC, there was then the flood and the ark of Noah, then the dispersion of the races, so that the man, made in the image of God, people all Earth.
The second period is that of the Patriarchs, since Abraham recognized as the friend of God for the faith he manifested towards Him. Having preceded the promise of God for his descendants, by an extramarital union with one of his wife's maidservants, he gave birth to Ishmael. Very late in her old age, however, Sarah will bear the child of the promise of God, Isaac. This promise did not stop at this only descendant, but at the multitude as numerous as the sand of the sea, to which Abraham will have given birth. This is how every Christian finds himself by his faith, included in the lineage of Jesus Christ, and receives for adoptive father Abraham, as well as for brothers Isaac and Ishmael. Abraham, however, was tested by God, to the point of having to pass Isaac after his obedience to God.
From Isaac was born Jacob, from whom twelve sons were born. He was also called Israel after struggling with God and being found victorious (see Genesis 32-
This second period lasted from 2348 to 1706 before Christ.
The third period is that of the life of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They will gradually be enslaved by Pharaoh and his entourage, for a total duration of four hundred and thirty years.
After all these years, and many cries of the Hebrews held captive, God used Moses to free His people.
He was born in 1571 BC.., during a period of extermination of children under two years of age, following the announcement of a liberator of the Hebrew people. He was put by his mother in a wicker basket according to the waters of the Nile, and gathered by the daughter of Pharaoh. Thus, during the first forty years of his life, Moses became "prince of Egypt", but during the next forty years he learned to become a simple servant of God. Accompanied by Aaron his brother, he then announced successively to Pharaoh the ten plagues of Egypt.
Each of these plagues was in fact a divine demonstration of the greatness of "the LORD". That is why the ten plagues of Egypt became so important in the eyes of Pharaoh and his people, since they were highlighting the balance of power between the Lord and the idol worshiped in Egypt, corresponding to the plagues. The plague of frogs was related to the god of fertility, the waters of the Nile changed into blood, the god of waters, to name but a few. At the tenth plague, the death of the first born, this one represented the sovereignty of God in direct relation to that of a human born Pharaoh. This is why the incumbent Pharaoh drove the Hebrews away, giving them plenty of gold to see them go. It is the exit of Egypt with the crossing of the Sea of Reeds in 1491 BC.
Everyone knows the different miracles that God used to bring out of Egypt, his people oppressed by centuries of slavery. So that the youngest do not assimilate it to any televised soap opera, let us read or reread together this passage in which all this people, cornered between the sea and its exterminators, witnessed what still astonishes us today: (Exodus 14-
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
Still forty years of life in the desert, but also miracles repeated, and Moses died without having entered the land of the Promised Land. This third period lasted from 1706 to 1451 BC, and ended with the crossing of the Jordan from this Hebrew people, led by Joshua. It is the entry into the land of Canaan (1451 BC), the Promised Land. Conquest of 1451 to 1444 BC.
The fourth period, which is of particular interest to us, was that of the "Judges". These judges were used by God to "judge Israel", that is, its deeds. They were there to lead the people of Israel to the respect of the law given to Moses that God might make them victorious when they followed His commandments, as He had promised in this law. In this, the Judges were spiritual leaders and intercessors, for the whole people and for themselves with God. They were not sovereigns, this part returning to “the LORD". They remained no less men, subject to their own human nature, identical to ours, therefore imperfect.
They succeeded one another from 1394 to 1095 BC during three centuries, and were fourteen from the first Othniel to Samuel the last.
Who would we be to judge our fathers of whom we are not necessarily worthy?
Provided that we never do worse than them!
For those who would have read the whole book of the judges, it is obvious that at the first synthesis, we would be tempted to draw the hasty conclusion that the people of Israel never walked in the ways of God. These narratives indeed put forward much more the disobedience, causes of reprimands, than periods of peace, which are mentioned only with a few words between two paragraphs, for example "and Israel, lived in peace for forty years".
It also emerges of that the people whose God is the driver, would always want to stand out victorious of all situations, whatever its mistake. He would then consider that God is the best of kings, just as each of us would like to follow God, provided we are not made in His image, but even though it is he who is made to ours. Our bad image would then be the right, as we so often believe in our sincerity while wage war against our fellow men.
If we today as Christians or Christian nations are not more often winners of our bad attitudes, then do not be surprised that Israel had not been it there is a few thousand years ago. Rather than calling itself into question, and letting God act in His promises as He had announced and regularly demonstrated, it would be easier for the Israelites to look for the wrong example through their neighbor. To an immense supernatural power, but invisible, it was more conceivable for them to trust a human power which extolled itself by violence and domination, and whose sovereign was elevated to the rank of a visible god.
In those times when television and mobile phones did not exist, the example was not far from them. Since more than a thousand years before the time of which we speak, there existed throughout the world several monarchies based on the divine and immortal nature of their sovereign, such as in China, the Maya and what's more in Egypt. Pharaonic Egypt, instituted by Menes who held under a yoke the kingdoms of low and high Egypt, in the period between Adam and Abraham, about 1000 years before Moses, about 1500 years before the end of the period of the Judges, to which we are referring to.
Powered by God's intentions towards him, Abraham and his Hebrew servants, whose nomadic origins passed through present-
Let's look at what happened then: (1 Samuel 8-
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.//
This text does not require any comment, as for the institution of the monarchy by God, at least that of Hebrews and Christians. Of the gods there are indeed many through idolatry, because there are even many more than declared religions.
On the other hand, there is what we must keep in mind as the guiding thread of our reflection through the phenomenon triggering the rejection of God, following all injustice inflicted on His behalf by oppressors who represent Him, as had become the sons of Samuel. These future judges on Israel acted shamelessly in corrupt attitudes, but it was God who was held responsible by their observers. If the LORD did not mention it, it is because the elders, themselves corrupt, did not come towards Samuel to seek justice for the misdeeds of his sons by a justice to which God would have responded positively as in the case of Eli, but to replace Him, Himself, by a human king.
In spite of all the miracles performed before their eyes before and after their exodus of Egypt, these ancient among the Israelites, of a nature identical to ours, could not refrain from grumbling against the LORD, their Liberator, and not against the sons of Samuel in the present example, which had placed them under the wrath of God. For us who change our political orientation every five or six years, how can we not understand that after three hundred and fifty-
Here we find a very ordinary human need for visible references, on which man can naturally rely without his faith intervening. In spite of the supernatural that their fathers had lived and the warning they received then, the Hebrews believed more in man than in God and therefore took the risk of creating an institution imperfectly in conformity with the will of God. An institution that was going to govern their entire country, their life context, have a profound impact on the lives and evolution of their children.
Through the mouth of the prophet Samuel, God had warned them that monarchies were going make to them live and that we can see today. Can the description given by God seem exaggerated to us faced with the abuses of all the various kingships in all times and throughout the world? (1 Samuel 8-
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.//
Perhaps the Israelites had some fears in this, but each in his human presumption that had removed him from God, did not he hope to benefit of it better than his neighbor? And then, does the image of human greatness, which represents the king's splendor to which the simple man easily identifies himself with him, do not glorify him a little?
In this kind of collective or personal introspection, how much could we advance motives all worse than the others, before which we ourselves are so weak?
These passages make clear the permissive will of God, to let each one its free will to follow or not His advices, even for the people He has chosen. This permissive will, perhaps exists only to better show its error to the man. What choice do we leave indeed to God to bless us beyond our expectations, if we refuse to follow Him for lack of confidence in Him? Will He abandon us? Will He destroy us to show us His power and love for us? After our stubbornness we weep, and often we hear from the mouths of the most obstinate to act only their own way, "if God existed how he could allow that?" But what about us?
What are the parents who, forced by the stubbornness of their children, have never had to use this kind of method of "do not touch otherwise you will burn yourself" once, twice, three times and finally, the "If you burn yourself, do not come to complain..." What else to do? And God says likewise! Although He wants to avoid us all these setbacks that we often spend, whether in an individual or collective attitude, He is powerless to our deafness and our fears. So there is nothing surprising that in the deposition of a monarchy God does not intervene as we would wish. When we choose and impose our will on God, He will content with our decision until we are fully willing to turn to other paths, in the utmost repentance. This is so with any form of individual or collective sin.
We can discern the very essence of God's desire to bless us all, even if it may seem paradoxical at first sight. Yet it is a fundamental situation, both in individual and collective blessing, in which God wants to intervene for our good. Let's read the story of Jacob's struggle to receive the blessing of God: (Genesis 32-
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel 1: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Peniel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.//
1) Israel signifies: It struggles-
God's will to fill us with all his blessings may be even less obvious to some after reading this text, but it is the attitude of heart in which He expects us, to be able to bless us. God wants to give us absolutely all these blessings, without we are losing any of them, just as incredible as it may seem. This is a fundamental expectation of God towards us, because it is much deeper than the simple desire to meet a need. To a past need, succeeds indeed another need, but to a blessing obtained in the search for the will of God, by our communion, in the very intimacy of God, and so often in the questioning led by God of our bad attitudes that at this level there is no more a vague capricious mind that always demands more effortlessly, one day in a sense, the next day the opposite according to the perception or mood of the moment. On the contrary, there is the attachment to keep pure this blessing which does not remain on a human, but divine level. The respect of what God has given is all the greater because we truly realize that it is not us who have "deserved" it, but that it is He who has do us the honour of bestowing it despite all our mistakes.
It is for this or at least for a small part of this that God asks us for an investment that is sometimes so "fierce" to bless us. It is almost always when we have overcome our physical, mental or spiritual resistance that at the moment we are letting go, the thing is fulfilled to our astonishment. It is also in this personal investment to be covered with the very nature of God in the image of Jacob, that one discovers all the beauty of living faith in the communion of God. It goes without saying that if the thing is already difficult at the individual level, it is all the more so collectively.
No, I assure you, it is not God who limits man, but quite to the contrary the man who limits God!
Look at nowadays, how many keep an object near them as a "lucky charm". This will obviously not be the case for all, but if this exists for some as fetishism, is there not in others the fact of placing firstly sexuality or money before God? Would this a social problem? I have met it at all social levels, and not necessarily the lowest, because idolatry can be in anything.
This evil is certainly one of the most widespread sins on our planet, and always puts God in the second, see the Nth rank. It is it who brings to certain the conviction that God is an unhealthy heresy to which man attaches himself for fear of death. Thanks, I already gave!
I do not condemn those who act so, for if I were to do so, I would condemn myself, who for many years had been one of the main defenders of this last thought. I believe that just as I did not perceive the difference of it yesterday, many unfortunately confuse God and religions. They say they represent God on earth, but this is still idolatry. They certainly make known their interpretation of the divine law, and in this they are good, but when they impose for their profit, their greatness, their power, their supremacy, they do what God does not allow Himself by Love for us.
Does idolatry emanate only from those who have never seen God at work or can it persist? Can it be reborn in those who have lived some of the most spectacular miracles of all humanity, and therefore in all of us?
Let us return to these Hebrew slaves and to their exit from Egypt. We will say, "they believed", and we may add, many of us believed. They had seen and they were going to see again. Three months after the departure from Egypt, and already many tribulations, the people led by Moses arrived at Mount Sinai, where God was going to manifest Himself to it to communicate the "Ten Commandments". They all had a great fear of God and asked that only Moses should attend this "show". It lasted six days, and at the seventh Moses went up to the LORD. He stayed there for forty days to finally come back down with the Stone Tables, the Tables of the Law, and there what did he find?
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.//
We must once again remember how, in the eyes of the peoples of the time, the miracles performed by God through Moses, in relation to the ten plagues of Egypt, might have appeared important. They were all supernatural manifestations demonstrating the divine power, to better manifest to the world of yesterday and today, the immeasurable dimension of God in relation to the one that man reproduces in idolatry. This is also why among all the miracles performed by the LORD, which the Hebrews may have witnessed, whether it is in Egypt before leaving it, in the desert after coming out from it, or later on crossing the Jordan or the capture of Jericho, all had been of an exceptional size, so that His people might have more confidence in Him than in any other god of human nature.
Three hundred and fifty-
The generations had succeeded one another and the parents had witnessed all the miracles that God had done for their people, but some were eighteen, twenty-
They had been drinking, eating, working, harvesting, so many benefits that appear to us as coming so easily from ourselves. It was my case before God be intervened in my life. I attributed to myself all the glory of all my results, without realizing that the very circumstances of my birth in a place such as France had never depended on my choice.
We are at the benefit of God's grace and His promises made to all who behave and have behaved one day according to His ways, of whom some of our ancestors are part. God already promised it in Horeb in the Ten Commandments: (Exodus 20-
Because I had the good fortune to be born in this blessed country of God, that is France, I thought me was a superior being without even realizing that it was precisely that the Grace of God, but in no way thanks to me. This grace already goes back to many centuries for our beautiful France, and even if it was transmitted to us by a monarchy, which perpetrated certain false ideas that the Hebrews had given rise to, it is still true that we are still today, under the effects of this grace of God.
The Merovingian Gaul
At the death of Clovis, the Frank kingdom is located on the territory of present-
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|FRANCE AND GOD|
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