Friday, June 29, 2012

How Can We Press on in a World Where Hopelessness is Overtaking So Many

1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2but 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. 3For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. 4No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. 5 They hatch adders' eggs; they weave the spider's web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. 6Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. 7Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. 8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. 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. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13 transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. 14Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. 20"And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression," declares the LORD. 21 "And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore."



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.







1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your faithful witness and the words of blessing! Especially these words: "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." Amen! Wonderful!

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