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Historians still debate the cause of ancient Rome’s collapse after existing for 500 years. One researcher gives many reasons: The barbarians kept gnawing at their borders. Rome was unable to control inflation, taxation, and spending; the huge gaps between the rich and poor created unrest. The empire lost control when it created two fronts—east and west. They had too much territory to manage with declining resources. Corruption eroded Christian values. All of these issues may have been at work in Rome’s fall. Yet we know from the way God dealt with ancient Israel, that when any nation forgets God, deterioration and destruction follow. Here is what God said to Israel by the prophet Amos (chapter 3): “My people have forgotten how to do right,” says the Lord. “Their fortresses are filled with wealth taken by theft and violence. Therefore,” says the Sovereign Lord, “an enemy is coming! He will surround them and shatter their defenses. Then he will plunder all their fortresses.” We, of course, would not try to predict how or when God chooses to judge people and nations for forgetting Him. At the same time, we must never think that God overlooks injustice and unrighteousness. In His own time and way, God still judges.

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