We think we’ve got troubles? King Alfred, twelve hundred years ago–he had troubles! Heathen poured across the sea and swamped his kingdom, they’d have killed him if they’d caught him, he had to hide out in a peasant’s shack in the middle of a swamp…
And he wrote this: King Alfred’s War Song. “For the Lord is our defense, Jesu defend us!” I don’t know about you, but I need a belt of that just now.
Psalm 127: “My hope is in the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
Someday the heathen will either be converted or destroyed. By their own hand, most likely.
Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6)
In any lifelong search for the reality of King Arthur, one is bound to stumble over someone called “Riothamus,” or “Rigotamus.” In the ancient British language it means “great king,” so it might not have been his name. We might not know his name.
Riothamus is a historical figure, in the sense that historians are confident that he really existed, they know certain particulars of his career, he was mentioned by other historical figures, and he was most active around the year 470–which would put him in the generation preceding Arthur’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riothamus). We think, we are pretty sure, that he and his army invaded the European mainland to help the Romans against the Goths: and he then either settled in what is now Brittany, or returned to Britain and was killed by traitors there, or else was ambushed by overwhelming numbers of Goths and killed on that battlefield.
He might have been Aurelianus Ambrosius, who preceded Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father, as the war-leader of the Britons. Ambrosius had much success against the invading Saxon tribes–until he was murdered.
This period of European history, when Rome was falling and tribes, not yet nations, were on the move, is a chaotic jumble and very hard to reconstruct. Arthur could have been Riothamus, if you adjust the dates accordingly. But then where do you put Uther, if you put him anywhere at all?
We live in hope that someday a few more ancient parchments will turn up in unlikely places, and provide some of the information that we lack.
All we can say for sure is that someone in Britain checked the invaders thoroughly enough so that a new nation, England, a Christian nation, could be born strong enough to survive in turbulent times. And that accomplishment has never been linked to any name but Arthur’s.
Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates… For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou has not known me… Isaiah 45:1,4
God spoke of Cyrus through the prophet Isaiah, a hundred years or so before Cyrus was born. He was born a subject of the empire of the Medes. There was no Persian Empire, yet. It remained for Cyrus to found it–with God’s help.
It was Cyrus who released the Jews from captivity in Babylon, and ordered God’s Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). His successors, kings of Persia, saw to it that the project was completed, as we know from Nehemiah.
Cyrus was not a Jew, not a believer, and yet God chose him as his servant. The Persian Empire that he founded was one of the great achievements of the human race, although it was finally destroyed by Alexander the Great. And Cyrus himself, after fulfilling the mission assigned to him by God, fell victim to a lust for power and glory, and met his death far from home, trying to conquer the nomads of the steppes. Like so many great men, he eventually brought about his own fall. Put not your trust in princes.
His career reminds us that God is able and willing to use anyone, even non-Jews, or non-Christians, to carry out His purposes in history. We note that of all the foreign potentates who ruled over the Jews, it was only the Persians–not the Romans, not the Greeks–who treated them justly and were rewarded by their loyalty.
God intervenes in history. It belongs to Him.
I pray He will intervene in our country’s history, to bring us back to our senses and to save us.
And we may be surprised by whom He chooses to do it.