I just read the “Men Have Forgotten God” speech by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn delivered May 10, 1983 at Buckingham Palace, London, as he received the Templeton Award. The Templeton Foundation dubbed him, “a pioneer in the renaissance of religion in atheist nations.”
One of the famous quotes from that speech and his main point or summary goes like this. “…while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
Wow! The whole of his speech that day blows me away! His insights — historical, political, geographical, philosophical, moral, intellectual, theological, Biblical… also “behold the man” standing there having been imprisoned many years and made a slave by his beloved Russia, full of love, and passion for his country and the world.
While I can see today’s churchmen and self-fancied theologians arguing whether Solzhenitsyn, if they even know who he is, should be considered a prophet or not — much like men playing cards in a hotel that’s on fire — his words ring honest, telling and true! Just like those of a prophet do.
This speech was delivered on the world stage in the 1980s in palaces and in leading universities around the world. I am in awe of it’s historical insight, sage wisdom, and prophetic candor. He certainly seems to be one who sees, when his culture, country, and the world around him didn’t or doesn’t.
So we have a modern Russian prophet and an ancient Jewish prophet saying, once again, essentially the same thing — from God. That’s what prophets do.
Want to hear what they’re saying? You can read the Russian prophet for yourself here. And I’ll quote the Hebrew prophet below, in part, from Psalm 106.
See if you can put the parts together looking at our country, our world, our day. Atheism and agnosticism it would seem are an important part of the puzzle of what’s going on in our culture, country, and churches.
Who in smug America knew? What atheism could do?
Atheism flowed in with idols galore
Secular humanist who think they know better
Boasting they know more
In the vacuum of God
In the strength of men
Slavery, death, and disaster
Soon reign again
The Almighty sits not idly by
But magnanimously watches from on high
He grants their desire, their want, their prayer
Knowing He must soon act with love and care
Justice meets mercy
Like a surgical knife
Cutting away cancer
Watching individuals and nations
This surgery can look pretty grim
Unless the eye is trained
Below are the words of the ancient Hebrew Prophet, Poet, and King — David. See if you can see a correlation to our country and our times? Much like what was reported and accurately ascribed by Solzhenitsyn to those terrible times in Russia. It would appear, barring His Grace, and our change of hearts and minds, we are on the same trajectory.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can show forth all His praise?
How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!
Our fathers … did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses,
But rebelled …
They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But craved intensely …,
And tempted God .…
So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them.
And worshiped an [idol].
Thus they exchanged their glory
For the image of an [idol].
They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things [for them],
Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word,
But grumbled in their tents;
They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.
Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.
But they mingled with the nations
And learned their practices,
And served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,
And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols …;
And the land was polluted with the blood.
Thus they became unclean in their practices,
And played the harlot in their deeds.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people
Does any of this sound right? Or familiar? Or like something that could happen or is happening? When men forget God?
Gratefully, Psalm 106 ends on a hopeful and merciful note, and a prayer. Let all who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. Amen.
Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;
And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
Save us, O Lord our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
Praise the Lord!