Recently my wife celebrated her birthday. A friend of hers baked her a cake and decorated it beautifully in my wife’s favorite color. There was quite a bit of the cake left over after the birthday meal celebration. My wife and I have been trying to limit our sugar intake, but this cake and the frosting were so good that I wasn’t able to resist. I did limit myself to a small piece of cake each evening until I had finished all of the leftover cake.
“Let them eat cake” is another well known saying that came to my mind while I was enjoying the cake. Even if you know very little about French history, you have probably heard that when the peasants of France were starving from lack of bread, Queen Marie Antoinette proclaimed, "let them eat cake."
The “Let them eat cake” story had been around for years before Marie Antoinette became Queen of France. The story was first told in a slightly different form about Marie-Thérèse, the Spanish princess who married King Louis XIV in 1660. Over the next century, several other 18th-century royals were also said to have made the remark. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau included the story in his book, Confessions, that was first published when Marie Antoinette was ten years old under her mother's care in Austria.
The expression isn't as harsh as it sounds. What Rousseau wrote is "qu'ils mangent de la brioche," which doesn't mean "let them eat cake," it means "let them eat egg based bread." Brioche, egg-based bread, was a more expensive bread than the typical flour and water bread of the French peasants. A French law required bakers to sell their brioche at the same price as their inexpensive bread if they ran out. What has been translated as "let them eat cake" actually meant, "if they have no inexpensive bread, let them eat the more expensive brioche.
The person who drew the most criticism was Marie Antoinette. Her foreign birth and extravagant lifestyle made her an easy target for public anger. It was easy to fabricate stories about her extravagances. Very likely, someone attributed the words to her, and the story seemed true enough.
Here in the 21st century we still see these same feelings. Frustrated people through the centuries have felt there has got to be better government. Is there any hope for something better, or do we just have to learn to live with unjust human government? Maybe if we just had new leadership things would be better. There is a longing for a system we can trust.
Jesus said in John 18:36 (CEV), “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” Hebrews 12:28 (NCV) says, “let us be thankful, because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”
Gentle Reader, I'm ready for a change in government. I'm ready for a kingdom that can't be shaken. The Bible ends with these words, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22:20,21 (NIV) I am looking forward to the return of Jesus and His kingdom. Are you?