I have read this scripture several times, and each time I have been conscious of how very accurately these words describe what is going on in the world around us right now as we live and breathe.
Just the other day, someone said to me (paraphrased): "God speaks to some people, but He never speaks to me." In my conversations with this person, it has become evident that, while this person believes in God and believes that Jesus is the Son of God who came to restore mankind's relationship with God, my friend has never surrendered control of his life to Jesus. He has openly spoken to me of sin in his life and about acts of violence, hatred and bigotry that he feels toward various people.
There have been times in my walk with God that I have felt that He was far from me. Verse two puts it very succinctly: your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
This is why is so important to examine ourselves daily and to confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness. God has nothing to do with sin and when we sin, it causes a separation from Him.
I believe that verses 9 and 10 very aptly describe what the world is like right now:
9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. 10We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men.As I read or watch news information, I see a world filled with pain and suffering and hurt. People are experiencing hopelessness and are disenchanted with the world systems (money, government, employment, etc.) and are looking for something new, something better, some way more "fair" in which to operate. The expressions on peoples' faces are ones of worry and fear and distrust. There is no justice in our courtrooms, our governments are corrupt, weather patterns are not what we are used to. Each day brings uneasiness about whether we will still have a job at the end of the day, and the shakiness and apparent failing of the world's financial systems has many on edge about what the day will bring. Mankind appears to be stumbling around in the darkness just as described in those verses.
I find verse 15 very aptly puts the way the world looks at those who follow Jesus today. Each day the worldview of Christians or more accurately, the worldview of those who truly adhere to following the teachings of Jesus has changed. "Christians" are being labeled as troublemakers, the "religious right", and when you tell someone they are not living right with God, you are speaking "hate".
It is vital at this time in history that those who love God and are called according to His purposes be the voice of reason; calling others to peace and love for others. We are not to join in the violence with either words or deeds, but to call forth a spirit of love and peace and reason.
The world looks to be spiralling out of control, but in actuality, God's Word is filled with prophesies that describe what the world would be like today. God told us in advance so that we could be assured that He is in control; that He knows exactly what He's doing and why and that we can take refuge in Him and be at rest and without worry. No matter what the day brings, if we dwell on Him and the inheritance He is offering to us as His children, while the world is raging, we can walk in assurance that nothing will touch us today that He has not okayed. When you walk like that, you steadily put one foot in front of the other, you tilt your face upward toward Him, you reach out your hand, asking Him to hold onto it and you keep on going. He will walk through it with you. He will be your strength, your strong tower, your courage, your endurance.
I know He will. I have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death for the past 15 years, and He has been faithful to me every step of the way...even when I have not been faithful. But He does require us to: examine ourselves, repent of sin, trust Him and follow Him wherever He leads. He will restore your soul, your peace, your ability to walk on.
Lord God Almighty, the world is in an uproar. People are trusting in governments and mankind when they have always failed to live up to that trust. You alone are our refuge. You alone have the answers to today's problems. God, give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to receive you. Give us the ability to be a voice of reason and peace and love in a world filled with violence, war and hate. Draw us near to you. Inspire us to love what you love and hate what you hate. Help us to be kind and understanding and forgiving. In other words, Lord, help us to be like you. Let us be the salve that brings healing to all who are around us. We praise you for who you are and for your great name and for your great ways. Who is like you, Almighty God in love and compassion and patience? There is none! We need you Lord like rarely before in history. I pray for each and every man, woman and child in the world who does not know you. May your Spirit and Word go forth today in power. You don't need us to accomplish your purposes for you have all power. But we ask, Father, that you would use us, those who love you, in bringing the knowledge of you to many in these last days. In Jesus' name.