How Long, O Lord?
How Long, O Lord?
We want to explore a natural reaction that each have to pain and distress, the inclination to become angry and displease with God when we are harmed or injured by others. Sometimes we direct our bitterness toward God. Although our anger may be directed toward a particular individual who has wronged us, it may actually be extend to God. As we read in Scripture that God is all-powerful and is sovereign to deal with our problems – if He wanted to. As a result our hurts then are turned into bitterness – when unforgiveness is given enough energy, enough time, it will take on a life of its on. We may begin to think that an all-powerful God who doesn’t seem to care enough about us to step fix our situation is causing these problems. This goes against everything that we been led to believe about His goodness and justice, everything that we vision God in our minds to be; a God of fairness who always balances things out in the end.
We may even give ourselves the permission to feel this way. Especially as we read and study the Psalms. The psalmist’s emotion becomes transparent as we read through the Psalms. Psalm 13:1–2 (ESV) 1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Psalm 44:17–19 (ESV) 17 All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way; 19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.
As we study the book of Job we find that Job at times was not afraid to ask God some very difficult questions. God never answered any of Job’s questions that he asked about injustice. Job 13:3–24 (ESV) 3 But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God…… 24 Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy?
What was God’s intent?
God’s first gracious act toward mankind was creation. Mankind did not deserve to be created. Mankind has no inherent right to exist. God has no inner necessity for mankind. What I mean by that is God has no need for mankind He loves mankind. And we would do well to remember this during the times of adversity that we experience.
Creation was an act of unmerited love which arose freely out of God’s will. So because of God’s will mankind exist today. As we read in Revelation 4:11 God is worthy of our glory and honor, and we were created to glorify God. So mankind exists today by God’s will and mankind exists to glorify God.
God’s two major acts of redemption
To help us understand God’s gracious act of creation we must look at the two major acts of redemption we find in the Bible.
The nation of Israel
God created the nation of Israel. Why did God select and create the nation of Israel? What was God’s intention for creating the nation of Israel? Christ came through the nation of Israel. This was the first step in the redemption of mankind. The Israelites needed a God – someone to take care of them – fight their battles for them. In Deuteronomy 26:17-19 God wanted them to be His people and He wanted to be their God. Over and over again God states this in Deuteronomy and other Scriptures in the Bible. If the Israelites had obeyed God’s commandments they would have been a nation honored above all nations. The blessings they would have received would have been unimaginable. Likewise the curses they received were terrible for not trusting and obeying God.
God wants a people for Himself and He wants to be their God. These two acts provide us with God’s original intent. God seeks to redeem what is fallen Romans 5:12-21. God still has the same motive and interest that moved Him to create the world in the first place. God decided to create just as He decided to redeem out of His love for mankind. God did not have to redeem mankind. It is an act of grace.
Who or what causes our adversity; the devil or the fact that we live in a fallen world?