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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Finding Rest in an Angry World

Hatred plays sinister tricks in our mind. Sinister and self-destructive. It reduces us to a position of great weakness, yet all the while seducing us to think we are powerful.
Two Bible texts come immediately to my mind, the first from the second psalm:
“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
Human history sadly demonstrates how often the political, judicial, educational, and the average-citizen all get fed up with obeying the Creator’s rules.
But notice the Creator’s response: “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying [to His Anointed – Jesus] You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
It ought to be a fearful thing to know God scoffs at you and me when we live as if He is blind and deaf to our rebellion. It ought to be a fearful thing, but it is too often not. Look at the daily news and form your own opinion.
The second text is from John’s gospel. Jesus and His disciples are in the Garden at Gethsemane. It is night. Here’s what happened in chapter 18: “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So, Jesus . . . said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” . . . So, when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
This scene has always amazed me. When the Lord of Creation responded, “I am” (the Greek text omits the pronoun, ‘He’), the soldiers and mob there to arrest Jesus fell backward to the dirt. The way the text describes it, it was if a mighty, unseen hand supernaturally cast them to the ground.
I like to think if I’d been knocked off my feet like that, I’d have bought the proverbial clue and fled as fast as I could. But hatred blinds us to truth – even to overpowering and supernatural truth. And so, when the mob got back to their feet, they took Him into custody.
It should not require special knowledge to look at our country – even the world as it lies engulfed in hatred -- and see a repeating pattern. It should not require special insight, but that’s what appears to be necessary. Good is now called evil. Evil is called good. Darkness is substituted for light, and bitter for sweet. It is almost as if a supernatural deluding influence has settled across the globe, leading spiritually blind, deaf, and heart-hardened men and women further into the pit of darkness.
And we can expect it to only grow worse. Here is what the Scriptures say about that point: “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2)
So, what is my point?
If you’re caught up in the anger and hatred that simmers here, boils there, metastasizing like a cancer in nearly every place – then come out from among them and be separate. Hatred will blind us – even those who are children of God through the blood of Jesus – hatred will blind us to God’s truths.
Turn off the non-stop news channels. Take a permanent sabbatical from the demonic influences that seep into your heart and into your home through that doorway. Turn your focus instead to the one who is Love itself. Listen at His feet. Spend quiet time with His Scriptures. Devote yourself anew to prayer. Refuse to permit anger to overtake your words and your thoughts and your actions. It will take practice to do such things. Don’t be discouraged by failure. Keep doing the right things. There is no other way to restore peace in your heart and to your home than to stay in His light.
In a world undulating with trouble and anger and wrath, God promises you will find rest for your souls in Him.

2 comments:

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

I was/have been thinking along these lines for many months now. Hatred destabilizes us. Wherever we hear lies and see death we know we are looking at Satan's work and must not become his pawns to destroy others. Yes, the Lord cannot be overcome. For over a year now I have given up watching news programs because, for the most part they are anti-truth and foment all sorts of evil against the teachings of Christ. I just can't stand to hear it. We find peace only in Him.

Rich Maffeo said...

I love it when it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit teaches His kids the same stuff, sometimes in different ways, but the same lesson.