Storm the Bastille

For those connected to French culture, the middle of July brings the annual remembrance of the French revolution. The storming of the Bastille, a massive old fort converted into a prison, has become a symbol of France’s chaotic and bloody transition from a totalitarian monarchy into the democracy of today.

Concentrating power into the hands of only a few powerful sinners usually doesn’t work out well for the masses. Samuel had some words of warning for the Israelites who were longing to be governed by a king: “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses. . . . He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen” (1 Samuel 8:11,13,15,18).

God has been gathering people into his holy family steadily over the centuries, whether they live free or as slaves, well-governed or poorly governed, whether their leaders seized power in a coup or were elected or descended from a royal dynasty. If you, like the French, live in a democracy and enjoy freedom of worship, you might just want to offer special thanks to God today.

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.


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