“I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.”
Psalm 119: 106-109
The Christian is eager for being true to God’s Word. When we go wrong and a sinful season seems to overtake us, we must come to our senses and repent. The direction of our life is toward God and to become more like Jesus, our Saviour and Lord. We seek His will and keep ourselves in the love of God as we live each day. Sometimes we will find that our love will fail, but we must remember that Jesus is not like us. His name and nature is love and that sustains us to have a love like His love.
We may suffer much in this life, but we are preserved by our Father God and sustained by His Word. God’s Word never fails. Let us praise Him for His love and care and keep close to Him every day.
We may feel that our lives are not up to much, or that we live with trouble and fear, but we trust in His strength and the truth of His perfect Word, which sustains us. Don’t be afraid, but believe. Trust God. Stay under His protection every day and do not waver. When fear raises its ugly threat, say the Word and it will fortify your heart. God will bring all things to your remembrance. Trust in Him and He will do it. God never fails and we need not fail either.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
How anxious do you get? Do you get the feeling of being condemned and rejected by God? Depression and mind illness can cause us to be very negative and our minds produce thoughts featured with doubts and fears. When we go wrong, there is the attendant guilt and sometimes an overwhelming impression of blame. This is a difficult mind set and causes people so much fear and anguish.
We believe the Word of God and try to obey it. We have put our trust in Jesus, the only Saviour, and know with all our hearts that He alone can save us. Yet at points in our life we can find ourselves in the pit of despair. It is a dreadful place and getting out of it is painful and takes time. This passage from Isaiah is particularly helpful and assures us of hope in the Lord.
God does send adversity and allows us to be troubled. When our minds are not working properly, we can think and do things that we would not normally do. It seems that God goes out the window and we succumb to wrong behaviour and speaking. It is like “self” has got the upper hand and has taken over calling the shots.
Which is the real “us?” If we are having a crisis, we can make life-changing decisions that affect us and the people around us in a big way. Because we are not thinking clearly, and emotion and delusional thinking are happening in our heads, we don’t really know what we are doing nor are we thinking about the implications. When we start to become clearer, it is terrible to look back at our behaviour and try to make sense of it. We feel ashamed of our sin and foolish decisions. We want to be forgiven, but God seems silent. We look into the Scripture to find comfort and healing.
Where is God? Why does He allow His child to suffer like this? Where is His sovereign will? Who’s fault is the fallout? Every day is a battle to get through and feel “normal.” Keeping busy works sometimes, but thoughts of our sinfulness and the holiness of God, bring anxiety.
It is so hard to know the answers. Isaiah says “we will weep no more.” When we cry for help God our Father will answer us. He will not leave us without comfort, but will come to us. We long to know the liberty of living in His free air.
God is gracious and rises to show us compassion. Do not loose hope. Do not let go of your faith. We are to “wait for Him” God will keep His people safe, though we may not know the outcome of His purposes or understand all the things that happen to us. The end of the passage says that God will guide us and show us the way. We might not see it, or think that the places God requires us to go, are a good idea, but we trust in Him. The Lord of all knows what He is doing and He will love His people and act justly at all times.
The bread of adversity and water of affliction will not last forever. We will learn how to get out of the pit. God forgives us, and we have to forgive ourselves and realise we are worth something and learn to care for ourselves. We build our confidence to take on the different aspects of our life and become humbled and with a grateful attitude for what we have or can do. God can restore things that human beings can’t. We wait for Him, our loving God, to lift us up as we climb out of the pit and get our lives back. We stay well in gratefulness and love to the one who keeps us each day.
A surgeon will use an operating tool called a lance, to open up an infected wound and let the puss and disease run out from the body. It seems like a dramatic way to cure something, but it is necessary to let out the infection, or the disease will get worse. If the doctor does not treat the wound, then the patient could loose a limb or even die.
When our lives go wrong, the surgeon of our soul, Jesus Christ, must lance the wound where sin has infected the body and soul, and thereby cure the Christian. We go wrong so easily and we fall into temptations and even serious sins, without much effort. We loose our view of the Lord, and plunge into wrong decisions and foolish actions.
The infection in us has only one cure. The power of the sword of the Spirit must be applied to our minds and hearts, and the deceitfulness of sin must be lanced and allowed to drain away. It can be painful and can last longer than we would want, but the cure is good. Once the cut is made, the infection can drain out, and the wound can heal. This will also affect the rest of the body and bring wholeness once more.
“…..the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….” Ephesians 6:17
The great physician will not allow His child to fall into spiritual sickness forever, but will administer the remedy that is suitable. He is ready to help us and make us fit again for His company, so let us not wallow in regret, but take the cure and let it do us good.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
1 Peter 1:18-21
There are situations when we really feel we have gone too far, and have sinned badly. Our sins heap up in the great wave of blame and condemnation. We have done things we are so ashamed of and when we look back at what we have done, it horrifies us. Why did we do it? What were we thinking about? We have no excuse and our sins of accuse us and overwhelms our mind and heart. We question everything about ourselves. Am I really a Christian? If I am a Christian, why did I do that? Why did I say such things that hurt the ones I love? Do I really love them and say such things?
This is the dilemma of the Depression for wrong-doing and failure. It is very difficult to cope with, and you are at the bottom of a deep pit, and you cant see the way out. Who can deal with this situation? Who can reach down and rescue this soul? We instinctively know the answer is Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world. But we have fallen so badly, and am rejected by those close to me. I’ve really done it this time. I thought what I was doing was a good idea and the words I said were teaching my family the right way. I have taken upon myself the robe of the prophet and am intent on setting things right, as I see it.
This is not my role, and is not what I should be doing. I am too much Elijah and not enough Mary Magdalene. I have almost lost my hope in Christ, and interpret the rejection of others, as rejection by Him. I have failed at the most important thing- my marriage. I have hurt my husband by what I have said and done. The guilt is overwhelming and I can hardly think of him without anxiety taking hold. What can fix this?
The obvious answer is in the Scripture verse. Jesus came to pay the price of sin, no matter what it is like, and He can forgive all who repent and come to Him. This may take some time to really take hold of in the mind and there will be days of trouble and heartache, and heart break. In His mercy, He will forgive and give us peace.
However, there are consequences for what we do and say. Somethings cannot be put back the way they were. Sometimes we have to be satisfied with what we get and be content to have little and the lack of closeness can be hurtful, but we have to take responsibility for our failure and do whatever we can to make amends. There may be nothing we can do. We just pray that God will soften hearts and make things better. We pray for salvation for our nearest and dearest, even though our love has failed. You may find yourself in a situation where it is just you and God. You put your hope in Him and ask Him to stay with you. The Lord Jesus is your only hope. Your life may shrink and become a battle with anxiety and your failure, but we pray for His mercy that will keep us and forgive us for all our fault.
Jesus is the only one who can do this, because He is able and has everlasting love for the repentant heart. Jesus can do it because of who He is and what He has done. We rest on Him and put our faith in His Word and His promises. His power can forgive us, as the price is paid already and He can keep us and sustain us right to the end of our lives.
We will have to fight a deadly fight. We will have to pray and pray every day. We continually ask for His power and He will encourage us. He will not leave us comfort less, He will come to us. He Himself is our comfort and our sustaining power. Our love will fail, but His love will not. Our mind set is humble, grateful and sorry for sin. We contend with ourselves and pray to the Lord for forgiveness, until the light breaks through. Jesus came for sinners, and when we repent and turn away, we are forgiven and given the ability to fight the fight and is mercy and love will bring us through.
“They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.”
Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord.”
Psalm 35: 21-22
To be sneered at is deeply humiliating and undermines trust and love. To find that someone is sneering at you, is hard to take. If it is done by one close to you, it is very hurtful. The fact that it is seen, further exacerbates the hurt.
People who think they have worked out your situation, yet have no interest in talking to you about what you are going through, shows a deep lack of regard. If you are in a relationship with this person, it is impossible to know what to do. The sufferer feels at the mercy of other people’s attitudes and hope can almost disappear. We give ourselves away by the look on our faces, and the unsaid lack of respect.
The scoffer feels able to throw off the person they scorn, and it causes a deep division in any relationship. What are we to do? If we depend on someone, and they turn into a scorner, insecurities grow and the sufferer starts to question the validity of the relationship. It can cause a deep anger that manifests itself as antagonism towards the scorner, and if not addressed, really only has one outcome. Relationships fail and people find they have to separate. Depression, anxiety, fear and loneliness take root.
No one seems to care. Blame is the food night and day and the hope of salvation just evaporates. What can be done about this? Is there any hope in such a situation? Does God care? The Scripture says that God sees all this. He understands every heart and the fears in every mind. The sufferer asks God to speak, and not be silent. When we suffer, it is easy to think God doesn’t care and has nothing to say to us. The truth is God knows and sees, and is there when. We call out to Him. We ask Him to draw close to us…
Please, Lord, don’t stay away from me. Do not throw me off and close your eyes and ears to my constant calling. If other people reject us and do not see or hear, we can trust that God hears the call of the sufferer and the oppressed.
“Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.”
The sufferer asks God to defend them and to fight for their souls, because only God can do so.
What if our mind turns against us and is intent on blaming us for everything. What if we are blamed for everything? We can be so judgmental on ourselves, in a way that God is not. This is the time of God’s mercy and grace, and He will bear with us even when all others do not. He fights for the oppressed and He fights for His people. Those who trust in Him and call out to Him, He will help.
“May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
We praise Him for the blessings He gives and the way He supports His people. It is good to have Christian friends who encourage us and remind us that we are loved, even when everything is telling us we are not. God does not delight in hurting people or misery. Those who call out to Him, will not be disappointed and He will provide a way of escape.
Our situation might be dire, but God is able and will not allow us to be tempted and tested above what we are able. We ask Him for power and love and a strong mind.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God shows His love for us in the most remarkable way. When we were still sinful people, indeed before we were born, God’s son, Jesus Christ, came into the world and died for us. He paid that dreadful price to pay for our unrighteousness, sin, unfaithfulness and pride. He paid the price completely and when we believe in Him and trust in what Jesus has done, we receive complete pardon.
Jesus paid for us to show the love of God in all its beauty. It is poured out in an amazing flood of forgiveness, and anyone who places faith in Him, is forgiven and set free from the penalty and effect of sin. Sin has no more dominion over us and we get freedom to approach God and be part of His family.
The cross of Christ is a demonstration of amazing grace and love for all who believe. There is nothing else like it and never will be. We can do nothing for ourselves, but God has given a Saviour who will rescue us from this present evil age and set us free from the power of sin. Look at that cross, see your need and come and put your hope and trust in that Saviour. There is no one like Him.
Hezekiah is king of Israel and had turned the people to trust and follow God. The enemy in the form of Assyria, has raised itself against Hezekiah to kill and conquer if he and the people will not surrender to this mighty power.
Sennacherib the kingdom of Assyria, sends Rabshakeh to negotiate, and present to Hezekiah, terms for peace. It is not peace. Ranshakeh wants everything and promises peace and prosperity to every Israelite home. This is the voice and the mark of the tyrant. When the war-mongers talk peace, we must beware.
Rabshakeh begins by undermining the allies of Hezekiah and pointing out their weakness and treachery. He calls pharaoh “a bruised reed..” which will cause injury and pain to whoever makes contact with him. Rabshakeh offers a treaty with Hezekiah, a treaty of horses but with no obligation to the Lord, the God of all.
Hezekiah’s advisors ask Rabshakeh to speak in Aramaic, so that the soldiers on the wall do not understand and become disillusioned and fearful. They are wise to the strategies of the enemy and are conversant with techniques of the ungodly to undermine faith. Rabshakeh ignores this request. He has come to speak to everyone and lay down the terms of the treatise so all can hear. He uses every opportunity to undermine and spread fear and doubt in the Lord, in Hezekiah and in the help of Egypt.
Rabshakeh promises all good things to the people if they will just follow him and believe in him. He boasts that the king of Assyria is so great and powerful, that he can do all these things for them, which their God the Lord cannot.
Rabshakeh reminds them that none of the surrounding nations were saved by their gods because Assyria is greater than all.
The Israelites remained silent. Hezekiah instructed the advisors to not reply to Rabshakeh.
Eliakim, Sheena, and Joah came to Hezekiah with torn clothes and reported the words of Rabshakeh… Hezekiah will not bend. Sennacherib is ultimately destroyed and all his soldiers are killed by the angel of death in a single night. God goes through the Assyrian camp and decimates the power of the tyrant, Sennacherib, and demonstrates that there is no one like the Lord.
God will not allow His people to succumb to godless ways, nor will he allow them to be defeated by godless enemies, when they cry out to Him. Sennacherib lost everything and Hezekiah and the people of God were rescued. Hezekiah was faithful and sought the help of God and lived to see the power of God being displayed against a ferocious foe. We also trust in such a God, so let us not be discouraged. We can be easily downcast by evil propaganda from the cruelty of the enemy, but God will keep us and will bring us through trials and give us the victory, through Christ, our Redeemer and champion.
“I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.”
The woman hears her Beloved at the door. Perhaps she sees his hand through the latch and she goes to open the door for her lover. She has been shut in from seeing him, and wondering where he is. When he comes to her, she opens for him, and lets him in. The picture of her hands dripping with myrrh and her fingers with the sweet smelling myrrh flowing from them, is very poetic. The beauty of the aroma is there as she opens the bolt of the door.
The Christian is sometimes languishing in doubts and fears and regrets. Our faith can almost fail, and we can be so afraid of life and its challenges, we become stagnant in our Christian walk with God. We make mistakes, and suffer the consequences of them, and the challenge of facing life in a new way, is very great.
The Lord Jesus comes to us and shows us His presence, and seeks communion with us. When we see Him and have knowledge of His presence, we should go to Him and let Him into the citadel of our heart. He will be our comfort and guide and will lead us through every day in His strength. There is no strength apart from His strength, and we can depend on Him at all times.
As we come to Him, let our fingers and hands drop the sweet smelling myrrh, as an anointing of his person, and a sign of our love for Him. We obey Him, our Lord and God. We must not leave off meeting with Him in prayer and Bible meditation. He will be our sweetness and will fill our lives with the sweet smell of holiness and love for God and His people.