With grateful acknowledgement to that literary genius, Charles Dickens, I am utilizing the title he first coined, in his 1859 masterpiece, the telling of the French Revolution and Reign of Terror in his, “A Tale of Two Cities“.
In his work of historical fiction, set in the cities of London and Paris, he weaves together social classes and political affiliations to address themes such as injustice, social anarchy, imprisonenment, resurrection and reunification. Using rich characters amid chaos and turbulence, these themes play out with intensity and anticipation.
In that same approach, I would like to draw upon two cities or cultures for comparison, instruction, and insight. Follow with me, if you will.
In these two snapshots from scripture that we will share, we will see clearly the characteristics of the characters living within these cities/cultures. The two cities are as vastly different as the French Revolution and Reign of Terror were, and yet the scriptural pictures painted of these two are also similiar to Paris and London in Dickens’ tale. Again, hang with me and let’s take a look at what I mean.
In the the book of 2 Timothy chapter 3, it tells us, “in the final days the culture of society will become…”, and then this is the pitcure of the characteristics that are portrayed there: (TPT version)
- extremely fierce
- self centered
- obsessed with money
- boast of great things
- mock all that’s right
- ignore their own families
- addicted to hateful slander
- slaves to desires
- ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good & right
- act without restraint
- delight in pleasures
- pretend to respect God
- want nothing to do with God’s power
- 17 in all
Tell me now, couldn’t this be an apt description of our society today?
I would dare say, at least from my viewpoint, that it could run as a literary parallel to Dickens’ reign of terror. Am I off base or out of line?
Regardless, these descriptions represent a society or culture- and in our comparison today, a city. One that displays these characteristics lived out by passionate characters flaunting each one of these base ideas.
This is one city. One type of society. But is it our only hope, our only option? (We are doomed if it is.)
Here though, is another city, society/culture that is also presented in scripture. We find it in Proverbs chapter 11. (TPT version) The players of this society are described as, “flowers in the spring” and here are the earmarks of their city/culture:
- apply right standards
- walk in humility
- led by integrity
- rich in righteousness
- good character
- trusted friendships
- good counselors
- wise leadership
- gracious, generous
- long-term rewards (not short term gain)
- whole-hearted (not doubleminded)
- longing to please God
- social conscience
- seeking other’s good
- loving God
- 17 in all, humph?! Coincidence?
Wouldn’t this be the prefered society? Isn’t this a culture that would garner the favor of every social class and political affiliation? (like Dickens’ did) Isn’t this the society in which we would see peoples reunited, see justice served and anarchy toppled? C’mon, now?!
And to top it off, in the tale of this city, is the promise of:
” The blessing that rests on the righteous releases strength and favor to the entire city.”Proverbs 11:10 TPT
“The blessing of favor resting upon the righteous influences a city to lift it higher.”Proverbs 11:11 TPT
The frosting on this cake is, that upon this second city, culture/society, where these characteristics are demonstrated by its populous, God promises to release strength, blessing, favor and influence.
You see, the one who can bridle themself to please God and be fruitful in the ways listed above, will be like a flower in the spring. And imagine hundreds of likeminded people, doing the same thing. We would have a beautiful, fragrant garden/city/culture that is flourishing under the blessing of God and growing in rich relationships with others around them.
You my friend, are one of those flowers.
“But the lovers of God rise up like flowers in the spring.“Proverbs 11:28 TPT
Germination has been activated and the time of your flowering has begun. Our cities will begin to reflect the beauty of flowering characters, who are demonstrating humility, integrity, generosity, kindness, wisdom, social conscience, and longing to please God.
Revolution or reign of terror.
Indeed, we have before us a tale of two cities; but our overwhelming choice is the culture of a garden of flowers in the spring.
God bless your blooming and your city.