How could this happen? How can this be? We hear people moaning and groaning about the current situation. So many dying around us brings fear and anxiety like we have never felt before in our life span. This is an all attack on our complacency! This is a challenge we never dreamed we would face. We don’t remember a time like this passed on in stories by our parents or grandparents, only of war and ravages of war. We do remember that those who survived war stayed silent about because it was too painful to talk about to family or anyone else. This is new for us, Lord. How long will it go on? Will we talk about it later? How will this end?
People of faith are fighting among themselves over who’s fault it is that we are in this predicament. What is that really all about? Some readily blame God. They say that what is happening is in His plan. Some say it could be worse. “Refresh your memory of us” your people cry out like the psalmist did when your people were taken captive and your worship center, your holy sanctuary, not only wildly destroyed but desecrated by barbarian hearts of evil. Have you forgotten us who believe? Where are you, Lord?
The faith of God’s people are tested. The Babylonian army is too much to bear. However, no matter what is happening, a remnant of God’s people believe and will not turn from God. They question, but do not turn away from God. For God is their Hope.
Even though the prophets had warned that judgment was coming (2 Chron. 36:15-21), the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple were catastrophic events that shook the people’s faith. As he surveyed the situation, Asaph moved from despair to confidence and in the end affirmed that all was not lost.
God will go silent for 400 years but Hope is not lost in the silence. Darkness overtakes the world. But there is still a remnant who remain faithful. God promised a Messiah who would save them. God’s remnant believed in the Promise. In the Davidic line, Mary and Joseph remain faithfully devoted to God. God knows whose hearts are completely His, that’s probably why Mary and Joseph were chosen for God’s very specific work as caregivers of the Promise. After darkness, God suddenly brought a bright Light into the world, breaking through the long silence with the cry of an infant. Jesus, born to a virgin betrothed to Joseph will be the caregivers for the Son of God who will deliverer them and all of humanity who choose to believe. Jesus, our Living Hope. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. We are the remnant who believe no matter what is happening around us or to us. We believe.
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 74, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
74 You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
God, how could you do that?
We’re your very own sheep;
how can you stomp off in anger?
2-3 Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
Your most precious tribe—you paid a good price for us!
Your very own Mount Zion—you actually lived here once!
Come and visit the site of disaster,
see how they’ve wrecked the sanctuary.
4-8 While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
brawling and scrawling graffiti.
They set fire to the porch;
axes swinging, they chopped up the woodwork,
Beat down the doors with sledgehammers,
then split them into kindling.
They burned your holy place to the ground,
violated the place of worship.
They said to themselves, “We’ll wipe them all out,”
and burned down all the places of worship.
9-17 There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
nor anyone to speak in his name,
no one who knows what’s going on.
How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme,
enemies curse and get by with it?
Why don’t you do something? How long are you going
to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
God is my King from the very start;
he works salvation in the womb of the earth.
With one blow you split the sea in two,
you made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin.
You lopped off the heads of Leviathan,
then served them up in a stew for the animals.
With your finger you opened up springs and creeks,
and dried up the wild floodwaters.
You own the day, you own the night;
you put stars and sun in place.
You laid out the four corners of earth,
shaped the seasons of summer and winter.
18-21 Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
taunts, each idiot desecration.
Don’t throw your lambs to the wolves;
after all we’ve been through, don’t forget us.
Remember your promises;
the city is in darkness, the countryside violent.
Don’t leave the victims to rot in the street;
make them a choir that sings your praises.
22-23 On your feet, O God—
stand up for yourself!
Do you hear what they’re saying about you,
all the vile obscenities?
Don’t tune out their malicious filth,
the brawling invective that never lets up.
TRUTH: “God is my King from the very start; he works salvation in the womb of the earth.” Jesus is our salvation, planned from the beginning. Asaph was concerned about the glory of God’s name and the survival of God’s people. It was God’s cause that was uppermost in his mind. The prophet Jeremiah had preached about the dependability of God’s covenant (Jer. 33:19-26), and Asaph was asking God to fulfill His purposes for the nation.
The nation had been ravaged, the city of Jerusalem had been wrecked, and the temple had been destroyed and burned–but the essentials had not been touched by the enemy! The nation still had Jehovah God as their God, His Word and His covenant had not been changed, and Jehovah was at work in the world!
God is at work in our world today, and we need not despair. He is our Hope because of His Promises kept. He is our God. There is no one like our God! He never changes. He is always at work for us not against us. God’s love never gives up on us. God knows our hearts. He knows who really believes and who does not. He is God, our Father. Jesus, His Son, our Deliverer, Savior and Lord. Our hope.
Proverb 23:17-18, The Message
Don’t for a minute envy careless rebels;
soak yourself in the Fear-of-God—
That’s where your future lies.
Then you won’t be left with an armload of nothing.
You are the God of Promises Kept. You never change your ways that lead to our best life with you, no matter what is happening around us. You, Mighty God of all, still longs for a relationship with us. You even call us Friend! It is hard to wrap our thinking around the God of all bending down to listen to us, lavishly loving us unconditionally, taking time to guide us, showing mercy and grace when we fail because we lose focus. When we call to you from worldview thinking that is dark, you run to us, meeting halfway from the road of despair to the road of hope. You put your arm around us and bring us back into your Lighthouse of love, mercy and grace. You are our living hope. You are the One and Only I completely trust because your promises are true.
Instead of asking how long, where are you or why me, I run to you with praise and thanksgiving for always being with us, always loving us and always and forever desiring an intimate relationship with us. Wow. There is NO ONE like you! Thank you for loving us the way you do. Continue to teach me, taking my thoughts deeper still into the mystery of your eternal love for us.
In Jesus Name, Amen