20-1-04-19 - The Shadow of Defeat
Ps 25:1-3 A Psalm of David.
Ever feel like you were living in the shadow of defeat?
"None of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed." That is a statement that seems so far away sometimes. In this day and age, Christians are persecuted in many ways that range from harassment, being passed over for promotion, and worse in the social-political arena in the United States to being hunted with automatic weapons and other military class munitions and having children kidnapped into slavery and other atrocities in Sudan. These things go on and people argue that a God of love would not allow this to happen. That same Sovereign of the Universe gave us each a free will. If someone chooses to abuse others or themselves with that free will and a life given in trust, he or she will answer for it. Even if it is not until we all stand before the Lord in judgment, the scales of justice will be balanced. The cries of those martyred for their faith will be answered (Rev 6:9).
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (NAS)
Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 10:34 that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Those who hold the man-centered world view are so incensed by the idea that they can do nothing to help themselves to either rid themselves of sin or otherwise reach some state akin to Heaven; they rebel against the very notion with anger and sometimes violence. The idea that there are some things that are never right and that there is an ultimate authority that they are answerable to chafes against their control and desire to live by their own rules. The world system claims that it can make a perfect world where no one ever raises their voice, let alone their fist against another person or group of people. They believe that if everyone is given the opportunity to do good, they will. They will be just as disappointed as King Arthur in Camelot when he finally realizes that mankind is not basically good, but is basically evil - selfish and untrusting. They look for the key that will turn humanity to a golden era of selflessness and unity. We hold the key and try to hand it to them. When they find they can do nothing to earn it, they don't trust it and throw it aside.
The Christian world view runs counter to the secular held world view. Rather than "protect yourself - me first, then me, then me, them me, … then you - but not for a long time." Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us . One translation reads "pray for them that despitefully use you". Why should we pray for these people? They are running headlong for Hell which they refuse to believe even exists. Unless their eyes are opened, they will spend all eternity separated from God in utter torment. There is no doubt that the Christians in places like Sudan, and other places like it, need our prayers and support however we can get it to them. But they are not in danger in an eternal sense. This is not to trivialize their suffering. What is happening is horrible. But the ones pulling the triggers on the guns think they are winning when they are really walking in to the gaping maw of a dark eternity not realizing they are the ones living in the shadow of defeat.
John 12:44-46 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. 45 "And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. 46 "I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,