Sunday, September 4, 2011

Never Give Up on God

This is always a topic that can pique the interest of true Christians. You know who you are. You have prayed for God’s direction but have not received an answer. You have an urgent desire to serve Him but you do not know where. Or maybe you are serving Him in a special calling but all it has brought is trial and discomfort. Can that possibly happen? In today’s Pop-Gospel it seems it can’t. But in the real Gospel it can.

Jeremiah was one such subject. Called to be a prophet, he loathed the disobedience and oppressions that surrounded him so God called him to speak out against it—his mission, to call the people back into God’s fold; but all he got in return was derision, shame, and trouble. In Lamentations He had this to say:

I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
He has led me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
Surely He has turned His hand against me
Time and time again throughout the day. Lamentations 3:1-3

He has besieged me
And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago.
He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry and shout,
He shuts out my prayer. Lamentations 3:5-8

I have become the ridicule of all my people,
Their taunting song all the day.
He has filled me with bitterness,
He has made me drink wormwood.
He has also broken my teeth with gravel,
And covered me with ashes.
You have moved my soul far from peace;
 I have forgotten prosperity.
And I said, "My strength and my hope Have perished from the LORD." Lamentations 3:14-18

Joyful passages huh? You will most likely not find this message in the Pop-Gospel so many televangelists and Seeker churches are preaching today. Yet still, it is an integral part of real Christianity. Jeremiah loved God with all of his heart but at times he loathed living. Yet he trudged on. In vs. 7 above he makes an interesting statement, “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.”  That statement alone is why Jeremiah never gave up on God. If you look at it carefully, and deeply you get a glimpse into the heart of this weeping prophet. His faith in God was so strong—so real—so true that he describes being connected to God and his calling as with a chain; not just any chain, a heavy chain. It was this connection to God that caused Him to realize he was “hedged in.”

True believers are hedged in yet sometimes they doubt. We do not always understand why God allows things to occur in our lives yet we stay chained. We do not run—we do not flee … we stay put; albeit sometimes the staying put can be painful and even disillusionary. We stay put because we know He is there and we know He is with us. We know He watches every step we take. We too are chained. In the throes of torment sometimes we say to our selves “I am quitting. I cannot handle this anymore!” Then we look to the other paths laid before us and we remember the days of separation; in that remembrance the old familiar pang of sin hits us hard in the heart and we rue the day—that is the day we lived apart from God—apart from the heavy chain that keeps us hedged in.

A little later, Jeremiah says the following:

Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.
My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:19-32

So if you’re feeling a little burdened, a little downtrodden and you are wondering where the Lord is, you’re not alone. What is happening now has happened before and will happen again. The chain that holds you bound to God is the same chain that will bear your soul to heaven. True Christians cannot escape the stranglehold of God. We just wait and wait, and sometimes wait some more. But in the end we realize His compassions fail not and they are new every morning. Why, because God is faithful.

If you are ever tempted to run from God remember the days of gall and wormwood. Remember from where you have escaped!

It His grace that keeps a fire kindled in the heart of our soul. Call out to God and wait. He yet will speak.

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49:15-16

God Bless

Bro. Mike