“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”
Difficultly is part of the journey for the people of God. Israel as a nation has been under constant scrutiny and attack since its inception and at the same it is true of the child of God. The moment you publicly proclaim the name of Jesus you will become the object of the world’s attack. Most of the positive things that are done in the name of Christ are overlooked, ignored or forgotten while anything and everything the church or the individual Christian does wrong is paraded as a proof that Christians are no different from the world.
After a recent attack at a gay night club by a person with radical Islamic roots the attention soon turned to the church as though this was somehow caused by the Bible’s position that homosexuality is a sin. Soon the news channels began to report on a church in California where the pastor declared that the victims of the attack deserved what happened because of their lifestyle. I was shocked not only to hear that a person would say such a foolish thing but that the media was able to ignore what was being said and done in thousands of churches across the nation and find one church that held this opinion and make it the news. What about the millions of Bible believing followers of Christ who gathered with their congregations to weep for the victims and pray for their families. What about those who made their way to Orlando to pass out food and water as a way to say they were sorry for the tragedy and to condemn the actions of a violent and godless man? The reality is the world has always opposed the followers of God and put them under scrutiny and attack. Jesus put it this way,
John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”
As believers we should do all we can to change the world’s perspective of Christ and the church. When a person attacks Christianity they should have to second guess themselves because of your actions. They should find themselves making generalities about Christians while having to rethink those statements because of your life, love and faithfulness to the word of God. We cannot ever compromise the message of the cross but we should be willing to lay our lives down for others to hear it, see it and know it.
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.”
4,000 years ago Abraham was instructed to take his son to Mount Zion and offer him to the Lord. 2,800 years ago David purchased the threshing floor of Ornan on top of Mount Zion so his son Solomon could erect a permanent house for the Ark and a place for Israel to worship. 2,000 years on that same mountain the son of God was sacrificed for the sins of all mankind as a means of providing salvation for anyone who would humble themselves and call upon the name of the Lord. And today countless people from all over the world make pilgrimages to mount Zion to reflect upon these events and so many more. Millions of visitors, thousands of storms, hundreds of wars and mount Zion has yet to be moved.
The psalmist boldly declares that those who trust in the Lord will be just like mount Zion. Although time passes and difficulties come, those who trust in the Lord will be as unmovable as mighty mount Zion. Not only will our lives be unshakable but they will one day have a testimony to share with all who are willing to take a look. That testimony will declare the faithfulness of the Lord regardless of our failures or the tragedies and triumphs of life.
1 Chronicles 27:1
“And the children of Israel, according to their number, the heads of fathers’ houses, the captains of thousands and hundreds and their officers, served the king in every matter of the military divisions. These divisions came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, each division having twenty-four thousand.”
David was the greatest king Israel ever had. Under his leadership the nation reached its apex socially, economical, militarily and spiritually. Within the nation God was being highly exalted and without the enemies of Israel were subdued and peace treaties were established. Every king that would step onto Israel’s throne would be compared to David and their reign would be seen in contrast to his. I think it is important to keep in mind that while David was responsible to surrender his heart and life to the Lord he was not capable of these great victories on his own. David purposed in his heart to follow God and countless others joined him in the task. Israel’s greatness, while attributed to David was really the work of a massive host of men and women who devoted themselves to God.
The same is true today. Churches across our country are often known because of the man who stands in the pulpit and proclaims the Word. He becomes the face of what God is accomplishing in that particular area but is not doing it alone. Behind the scenes there are countless unnamed supporters who are standing with him. Many of these men and women will never become household names but the ministry could not be accomplished without them. They are the ones who hold up their pastors arms in prayer and faithfully serve beside him to assist in any way they can, to be sure the Word of God is faithfully declared in their community. They set up tables, clean up the churches, fold bulletins, teach children, attend prayer meetings, etc. Just as Israel,would not have become what it was without David’s support staff so the church cannot be what God intends without the faithfulness of those who serve alongside their pastor.