Monday, February 11, 2013

Middle of Trouble

 7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
 8The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. 
(Psalm 138:7-8, King James Version)

Middle of Trouble

Sometimes it seems that no matter where we go, no matter what we do, we always end up right in the middle of trouble. That is exactly the point where we find the Psalmist in verse 7 of Psalm 138. Yet, he is undaunted, for he knows that God will stretch out his hand against the wrath of his enemies, and God's right hand will save him.

Do we have that kind of confidence in the Lord? Is that confidence misplaced? These are two very important questions for us to ponder when we consider our relationship with the Lord. For God's mercy is not a talisman that we can count on to bail us out of any trouble in which we find ourselves.

You see, the Israelites, in their later years as a nation presumed upon God. They presumed that no matter what they did, or how they acted, God would never allow Jerusalem to fall, for Jerusalem was the holy city. However, just a short perusal of history reveals to us that that was not the case. Two times, Jerusalem fell, first at the hands of the Babylonians in 538 BC, and the second time at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD.

What happened? God's people presumed that God would never leave nor forsake them, and yet they were foolish to believe such things. Again and again the prophets of God warned them that their turning away from God to worship the gods of the surrounding nations would bring about their utter destruction. Finally, God's hand of judgment came upon them, and the Babylonians carried away captive most of the survivors of the destruction of Jerusalem.

For 70 years they remained in Babylonian captivity until their release, which was also prophesied by God through the prophets. One would think that was all it would take to teach the Jewish nation that serving their God faithfully was not an option. Yet, by the time Christ came, most of the Jews of His day rejected Him, sending Him to the cross. No wonder God destroyed Jerusalem by the hands of the Romans in 70 AD.

How do these events affect us today in the 21st century? When we find ourselves in the middle of trouble, where do we turn? Are we right to expect God to bail us out of difficult circumstances again and again? To answer that question, we must ask another. How faithful are we to this God we profess to love?

One cannot help but see many parallels between the United States and Israel. Established upon Biblical foundations, God has raised this country to a level of greatness not seen by any country in centuries. Yet, what is the United States doing today. Prayer was banned from public schools in the 70's, abortion rights were granted, the ten commandments have been consistently removed from public view, and now gay marriages are becoming the law of the land. Yet, what does the Bible say about these same issues?

Unfortunately, it is almost becoming illegal to publicly name the name of God unless one is doing so as a swear word. What has happened to this once Christian nation? Just as Israel adopted the gods of the surrounding nations, incorporating them into their worship, so has America done the same thing, until the Bible is ready to become a banned book in a land that was established on the basis of religious freedom.

Thinking of these things, do we have the right to presume that God will again bail us out when we are in the middle of trouble? As servants of God, God will honor and keep His faithful children. However, as a nation, America no longer sits under the safety net of God's umbrella of protection. As Israel fell, so could America. It is time that we, as people of God, stand up for the principles we so gallantly profess. Our convictions need to be just that: convictions, and not just preferences.

May God's people stand firm upon God's Word and say with Joshua, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" (Joshua 24:15)

God Bless You,

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