September 28, 2013
“When Righteousness and Peace Kiss”
As we take one more chapel to delve into the issues we have been discussing these (now) last five chapels, there is one more issue we should touch upon before we leave the subject. Call this part 6.
Last time we talked about Job and his quest to figure out why God allowed undue pain to enter our lives. Personally, I believe the only complete and satisfying answers to those kind of questions will only come in person on the other side of eternity. Only in God’s presence will those things be not only answered, but also understood.
In this life man will never know all of God’s wisdom, and in some respects man is not even in a position to ask the question “Why?”
A few things do become clear however from Job’s confrontation. First, although not always clearly noticeable, it is clear that the wicked will one day come to judgment. Second, the thinking that suffering is always the result of sin is demolished. And third, man is in no position to justify his own situation by accusing God of injustice.
Job pointed out that this knowledge is not likely to stop the tears of one who is languishing in captivity like Idaho Pastor Saeed Abedini who hit the one year mark of incarceration in Iran for believing in Jesus. Nor will it stop suffering persecution, or end terrible pain from a cruel disease. But this knowledge does challenge God’s people to recognize the sovereignty of God and to trust in His wisdom that there is a time and purpose for all things including adversity and suffering:
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 *
1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace. (Bible Version
* And FYI, yes, this is where Pete Seeger got the words for “Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There Is A Season) and released by the early 60’s Folk music group The Limeliters in 1962 before being taken to #1 on the Top 100 music charts by American Rock music group The Byrds after it’s release October 1, 1965 on Columbia Records. In writing the song as a plea for peace; Seeger gets credit for the last six words of the song: “I swear it’s not too late.” The Byrds’ version distinguishes the song as the #1 pop hit with the oldest lyrics, dating back to the Book of Ecclesiastes. Biblical scholars believe Ecclesiastes 1:1 implies King Solomon as the book’s author; thus, giving Solomon (born c. 1011 BC) lyrical credit for a number one hit.
Whether it is apparent or not, God IS working in the life of each person. He is also working in the life of each nation to bring His people into a closer relationship with Him, and therefore into greater harmony within themselves and others.
As you ponder what we have studied these last five race chapels, now let me point you to Psalm 85. The Psalm exemplifies the Israelite people who were now conquered and taken into captivity facing shame, ridicule, and possible death. Their prayers in the midst of captivity and exile in an unfriendly foreign land reveal a people seriously reflecting upon their predicament and the sins and rebellion to God that brought it about. Confession of their guilt and hope for deliverance is their prayer. This Psalm exposes the agonizing loneliness of not only these people but anyone who ever awakens to the harsh realization that he or she is in spiritual exile away from God, …just existing day to day instead of living an abundant life in Christ.
Psalm 85 – a title for it could be:
“Restoration Must be Accompanied by Righteousness”
1 Lord, you poured out favor and blessings on your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.
2 You forgave the guilt of your people—
yes, you covered all their sins. Selah
(Selah means to pause and think about this)
3 You held back your fury.
You kept back your fierce, blazing anger.
4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Put aside your anger against us once more.
5 Will you be angry with us always?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Won’t you revive us again,
so your people can rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love and mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to His faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
so our land will be filled with His glory.
10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down His lovingkindness and blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest once again.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before Him,
preparing the way for His steps. (Bible Version: GBB)
Then we can follow in those foot steps …like a child follows in the deep snow by stepping in Dad’s foot prints… while always keeping their eye on Daddy. Go where “Daddy” leads you and don’t be afraid. (**Psalm23)
Have a safe and prosperous race today!
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads and guides me beside still waters and peaceful streams.
3 He renews my soul and strength.
He guides me along right paths into righteousness bringing honor to His name.
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, in the shadow of death
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff guide, protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live and dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Lastly today, I love Andy Cherry’s song “Our God’s Alive.” Here are the lyrics to encourage you:
You can listen on this YouTube link with lyrics:
Come on every one, see what He has done
He has lifted us, He has overcome
The power of the grave, and the sin that once enslaved Couldn’t hold him in the ground, couldn’t keep him down
Rise with a shout
Cry out our God’s alive
Rise holy fire
Burn bright, burn bright
Rise with a shout
Cry out for freedom
Rise church arise
Our God’s alive
Reigning on his throne, drawing ever close Giving us this hope, He’ll never let us go Death has been defeated Jesus Christ redeemer, conquered hell and freed us Forever we are saved
He alone can save
He will not forsake us
He remains forever our Savior
See him reign in power
Stronger than our failures
Always and forever our Savior