Zechariah 7:1-14; Revelation 15:5-8; Psalms 143:7-12; Proverbs 30:7-9
Psalms: “Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Don’t hide your face from me, or I will be like those going down to the Pit. Let me experience your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in you. Reveal to me the way I should go because I appeal to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I come to you for protection. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, Lord, let me live. In your righteousness deliver me from trouble, and in your faithful love destroy my enemies. Wipe out all those who attack me, for I am your servant.” (Psalms 143:7-12 CSB)
The United States has been under the oppressive weight of a global pandemic for nearly 22 months. Other parts of the world have been under that weight even longer. What many thought would only last a few months has lasted almost two years. Beyond the pandemic is the economic and political instability and uncertainty that has ensued. Everyone, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they stand in, feel like they have been lied to in some way. We’ve gone from forced shutdowns, to mask mandates, to vaccine mandates – none of which has brought an end to the threat as promised. People are getting weary and stretched thin. Patience has long been exhausted, and trust in others is at an all-time low. Tempers are flaring. Looting is occurring in cities around the nation. Supplies are dwindling and prices are rising.
This past month, my daily reading has brought me to the book of Revelation and the prophetic visions John had of a time of great tribulation. The seal judgements, the trumpet judgements, and finally the bowl judgement. Tribulations come both to the righteous and the unrighteous alike – because of the ongoing presence in the world of sin. Much like a virus that refuses to die and keeps mutating, so sin lives on in the world – and nothing we do in our own strength, understanding, or skill can do anything to get rid of it. One thing the tribulation does is separate the righteous from the unrighteous, the godly from the ungodly, those who fully trust in God from those who trust in themselves and other man-made institutions. Before the pandemic hit, the Lord gave my pastor a word. He said that the world would soon be humbled, and in that humbling, things would be brought out in the light and exposed for what they truly were. There would be things that would be exposed as good and true, and other things that would be exposed as sinful, carnal, worldly and the like. For those things that were good, turn them to praise. For the other, the opportunity would be there to confess, repent and return to righteousness.
King David went through many challenging times in his life. Instead of growing bitter and resentful, he allowed the challenges to expose things in His life and then repent – placing his life in the hands of the Lord. This psalm was written during one of those times. This psalm is often categorized as a penitential psalm because of David’s penitent language in the midst of his lamenting. David wanted to make sure that his trial would used effectively in his life to grow him, mature him, and draw him even closer to the Lord that he loved and trusted. In his prayer, he asked God to not abandon him, but to answer him… answer him with His presence… answer him with His faithful love… answer him with His wisdom and direction… answer him by teaching him His ways… answer him by leading him out of trouble and into peace. David knew that if he took matters in his own hands he would not experience the deliverance he needed and desired. Therefore, he humbly placed his life in the Lord’s hands and trusted Him for deliverance… and God undoubtedly heard his cry and answered his prayer.
Have we allowed these 22 months to work effectively in us, exposing what is good and what is not, praising the Lord for the good and repenting from where we are wrong? This time of tribulation is separating the godly from the ungodly. It is highlighting those who truly walk in faith and obedience to the word, will and ways of the Lord from those who merely say they do but ultimately trust in themselves. What side of the line do you fall? The opportunity to repent is still open. Like David, pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal the way you should go. Ask Him to teach you His ways. Ask him to lead you from error into righteousness. He will answer you, and in the midst of this oppressive pandemic, He will give you peace.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that when I humble myself, place my trust in You, and ask according to Your will, You hear me and answer me. Even in the midst of trying times – especially in the midst of trying times, when I place my trust fully in You, You answer me, teach me, and lead me. Help me to not ignore the things You expose in me, but confess them, repent of them, and allow You to cleanse me of them and make me more into Your image. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.