Faith Blog

AUDACIOUS HOPE

If we’re honest, there is truly nothing more painful than the times when we experience our Father’s discipline and displeasure.  Psalm 80 puts words to our feelings in those moments:

  • How long will you be angry with [my] prayers? (vs. 4)
  • My enemies are laughing at me. (vs. 6)
  • I’m eating and drinking my tears (vs. 5)

It leads us along a path of remembering too—of remembering God’s past favor toward us even against the impenetrably bleak backdrop of the present.

For Asaph this meant recalling God’s choosing Israel as a vine, and then bringing them out of captivity, clearing the ground, planting them only to see them take root and “fill the land” in every direction.  Yet despite God’s past favor, in the present God had “broken down” the walls of His vineyard and wild boar and beasts ravaged it and those passing by ate its fruit.  Asaph asks simply and painfully “Why then have you broken down its walls….”? Why Lord?  Yet here, we learn a helpful lesson from Asaph as to what we can do in this situation: keep praying.  Three times he calls out to God: “Restore us [or turn to us]…Let your face shine, that we may be saved.”  And each time he prays it, the intensity of his prayer grows.  The lesson is simple for us: when we fail and sin and suffer we must keep praying.  That was Asaph’s hope—hope in the God who will turn and need only smile to change our situation entirely.

However it is also helpful to remember in such times that the hope that Asaph had in part we now have in full. Even in the darkness we can dare to believe that God will turn to us and forgive. What gives us such audacious hope? Jesus.  He is our Shepherd, the true Vine, the one who gives life, the Son at God’s right hand—the one who faced the full turning away of the Father’s face and the fierceness and fullness of His wrath.  In Him is life. In Him we have access to the God who sits enthroned above the mercy seat. Forever.  In Jesus is our hope and trust.  Even in times of grievous sin with terrible consequences on our part, God will turn and be gracious to us and smile on us because of his Son. So then in the darkness let us continue to pray:

Restore us…Let Your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Posted by Craig Lester with

LOVE &OBEY OUR MERCIFUL GOD - LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF - TELL THE GOOD NEWS - ENCOURAGE OTHERS

Jer. 10 - 11 Today’s so-called gods are no different than those in Jeremiah’s day, made out of wood, gold, silver, etc.  They all take man’s (and woman’s) attention, occupy all of non-believing man’s time, consume his thinking and cause him to focus on these so-called gods rather than the only God.  Non-believing men and women of today buy or build stuff for their own glory, they beat their chests and say look at me.  They are not still and they certainly don’t know that He is God!  Israel was no different in Jeremiah’s day.  I have to ask myself the question:  What would God do different to physically get man’s attention?  What would He make or cause to happen, in physical form, that He has not already made or caused? He was already here on Earth physically, and we rejected Him.  Just because miracles happen all the time (sun-rise, mist forming, wind blowing, etc.), men today take these for granted and say to themselves, ‘this has always been, caused by science’.  God shows us His power regularly!

 Psa. 78:56-72 Even with all of Israel's disobedience and the resulting anger and wrath from God, God eventually poured out His mercy, chose the tribe of Judah & Mount Zion, and selected David to shepherd His people.  And then:  He came to Earth and demonstrated first hand His Love and power and salvation plan. What love and mercy!

 Col. 3:18-4:18  Pray:  don’t be weary, but keep at it and watch and be thankful when the answers come - Tell the Good News & make the most of your chances to do so - Encourage others to pray and tell the Good News - Love others as yourself

 Prov. 24:28-29  Love your neighbor as yourself!  I think about our country, The United States of America, how our punishment for disobedience has seemingly been very small compared to God’s chosen people - albeit over a much longer period of time.  We have been reminded from time to time of our sinfulness, but more often than not, we have been blessed, perhaps as a result of our support for Israel the nation and perhaps because of those of us who truly believe.  As a nation, where are we headed - for triumph or destruction?

 

Posted by John Wise with

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