When St. Augustine wrote the book in the 5th century, Rome was falling. As Rome fell, many came to St. Augustine and asked where God was in all of it. By this point in history, Christianity was the official religion of the empire, so for Rome to fall to pagan barbarians felt like a defeat for Christianity. Can we relate?
Augustine’s answer is as poignant now as it was then. Essentially, he made the case that God is not particularly interested in any city or nation but will work through both their rise and fall to advance His City and His Kingdom so that people from every nation can gather at His throne. Now it is worth noting that Augustine died when the barbarians conquered the city in which he was bishop, but more importantly it should be noted that while Rome did fall, the City of God was advanced as those barbarians eventually came to faith and in turn shared the gospel with still others. Thus, my prayer is whether we rise or fall as a nation, we rest secure in the fact that the Kingdom of God is advancing.