PASTOR’S CORNER: How easy it is to forget the past

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By Rev. O.L. Johnson

Religion Columnist

As a reminder, God makes it clear in the creation story that he is the primary authority figure on the planet Earth. Think about it: only someone in total charge could do the things he did during that time period. He literally created the physical planet out of nothing; he spoke night and day into existence; and he created all life forms that exist on the planet.

God’s utopian plan was nearly complete when he formed man out of the dust of the ground and added woman to the mix from one of the man’s ribs. As he surveyed his work, he saw one more thing needed to be done.

Earth was not self-sufficient and it needed someone to till the ground and generally be responsible for its survival. He delegated that chore to humankind.

Almost immediately he told the man and the woman, whom he named Adam and Eve, what he wanted them, and all their descendants, to do on the planet: first, he gave them dominion over the earth, then he told them to do the following: be fruitful and multiply — in a personal sense; to replenish the earth — implying permission to use earthly resources; and to subdue the earth.

Seeing his plan was complete, God retired on the seventh day for a much-deserved rest, leaving Adam and Eve to follow his instructions. We know what followed; Adam and Eve failed God, which can be summarized in the word “disobedience.” They went their own way, failing to remember that God was in charge.

Human history will verify that Adam and Eve set the pattern for all of their descendants. Disobedience seems to be the way of humankind since then.

A good scriptural example is the fate of the city of Babylon, which is described as a “great city,” but one which had become a “habitation of devils, a dwelling of every foul spirit and a cage for every unclean bird.”

Babylon was so corrupt that it had a negative influence on neighboring nations and foreign kings, leading many of them into “fornication.” Babylon must have been the “sin city” of its day. It seems to have forgotten about God, also. As a result, God completely destroyed it, and it never recovered.

The same can be said of other great empires of history, like the Roman, Greek, and Persian empires all of which were anti-God societies and were destroyed and no longer exist today. And, since we’re making comparisons, what about the great USA of today? Are we any better off than those empires of old?

The answers to these questions lie in the quality of the relationship that exists between God and our nation today. We are a Christian nation, built on Christian principles and, as such, we have done well in maintaining a strong relationship with God — until recent years. In the past five years, we have begun a slow downward trend in our relationship with God.

It all began with the emphasis on lies and false information by one man which has grown and has contaminated the average guy on the street. We are becoming a nation of liars in God’s sight. Listen to God on this issue of lying: Commandment No. 9 prohibits lying; Proverbs 6 says lying is an abomination to God; and, Revelation 21 promises that all liars will wind up in the lake of fire.

So, back to our question — are we better off? The answer is an emphatic no. Unless we change, we’ll be in the same oven as the empires of old. We have forgotten far too easily.

Rev. O.L. Johnson, a retired LAPD lieutenant, is an associate pastor in his home church, Greater New Zion Baptist, 501 W. 80th St. in South Los Angeles.

Pastor’s Corner is a religious column that looks at the relevancy of scripture in life today. The column appears monthly in The Wave and on its website,


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