Monday, July 6, 2015
Tears of the Oppressed
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
For the choir director, on my stringed instruments."
I have been thinking a lot about oppression lately, about so many in this world who are downcast right now. Whether it is from standing up for their faith and receiving persecution, or from sin which ensnares us, or just the state of the world as it is right now. In fact, I woke up this morning feeling oppressed myself. Long standing difficulties don't appear to have an end, I feel pain in my body, and sadness about the state of the world all contributed to this. But thank God, I know where to go when I am sad: only to my Lord. The other day I read in Ecclesiastes, chapter 4. It seemed the first verse leaped off the page at me, as if Solomon spoke for the whole world:
4: 1 "Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them." (emphasis mine)
It was as if the Lord said to me, think about all the other people in the world who are oppressed right now! Yes, I have problems, yes I have difficulties and sorrows, but there are millions, billions even, who walk in darkness and don't see where to turn in the midst of their troubles. On the other hand, I know where the solutions are: in Jesus Christ, the ultimate solution who died for our sins on the cross. I am encouraged then to pray for them, the downcast in North Korea, China, Vietnam, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, Honduras, Mexico, Laos, Tibet, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and on and on. I could list every country in the world, for their are those that suffer in every land. God knows their names, God knows their faces,and He longs to be gracious to them.
So I ask Him to look upon them today, the ones who are searching. I pray, "Oh Lord, send out laborers into Your harvest while their is still time!"
John 4:36 “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."
for He says,
“AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”
Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”—
II Corinthians 6:2
As I prayed to Him this morning, I felt empty as I approached His throne of grace. But I lifted myself out of my own pit by praising Him, even though I didn't feel like it. As I did, I saw that I am able to rise once again over my problems. Not in my own power, but in His power, His strength, His stamina. Mostly today, I just prayed back His Word to Him. Though struggling, I praised Him with Psalm 150, the last Psalm of the Bible, which is a command to praise the Lord. It says:
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3 Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!
Yes, there may be no fig tree blossoming, or no fruit on the vines. But God wants me to ask Him to send forth laborers, to hear the cry of those in this world who have no hope at all. A good friend of mine just had a death in the family. It was her mother in law, who was over 100 years old and a believer. This woman knew she was dying and asked for her family so she could say goodbye. Near the very end, she looked up, gasping in anticipation before taking her final breaths. Her family rejoiced more than grieved, for they knew where she was going, and knew that she was in a place where there is no more sorrow or pain. They were not ones that grieved with no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13).
This is the kind of hope you can have too if today you are without Christ, if you don't understand what is going on all around us, if you are feeling oppressed. Take the gracious cup of salvation that is offered to you by believing in the One who died in your place, so that you can have eternal life and no separation from God in eternity. It is called the "Great Exchange." He took our sins, and we in turn take His righteousness. What a gift!
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and fnHe has fncommitted to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:18-21
Do it today, before it is too late!