Confessions of a Church: The Most Difficult Time to Live

The Psalm writer wrote:  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received.   This is the word of God.  It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.   
 
Deuteronomy 7:12-26  “Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. 13 He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle. 15 The Lord will remove from you all sickness; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you. 16 You shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’  You shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish. 21 You shall not dread them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. 22 The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. 23 But the Lord your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.  25 The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.
 
This is the word of the Lord. 
 
There seems to be a temptation prevalent among God's people to imagine that the world in which we live, our particular era, with it's difficulties, conflicts, pressures, stumbling blocks, and enemies, are all acting as never before seen or experienced hindrances to our flourishing as humans. We watch as the media and government (is there a difference at this point?) which we have not trusted over the last 2 or 3 years tells us that Russia is Evil Empire 2.0, that Canada crushing the trucker revolt is a good thing, the birth rate is stagnated at the lowest levels in our lifetimes, crime on the nightly news is out of control, and we are left knowing for certain that the day in which we live is the worst era ever. 
 
This leads many to cry "oh woe is me, what can I do?", or "If it were only 50 or 60 years ago, then I could live the life I have imagined for myself" (maybe that's part of the problem, you live in your imagination rather than in reality), or "We have it so much harder today, it's  just not fair", as the remnants of WWII lie in nursing homes remembering how they stepped off a landing craft onto a beach in a hail of bullets, by God's  grace being blessed to survive, only to return home to a new world where their wives no longer felt inclined to keep their feet at home. But you live in the worst Era ever, with the biggest, baddest enemies Christendom has ever seen, enemies like inflation, immigrants, and tranny college swimmers.
 
It isn't that we aren't capable of discerning tyrannical behavior by leaders, that we haven't been given the wisdom to recognize injustice, or that we are not allowed to call a spade a spade when we see oppression, inequity, or iniquity running amok in the world. But rather, it's a question of how do we respond to it, and in our recognition that there are boogeyman out to get us, do we pinpoint the ones who are merely distractions which lead us to grumble, or are we capable of identifying the real enemies and go to spiritual war with them: the world, flesh, and devil?
 
The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the Lord your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed.
Matthew Henry says this: 
"We must not think that, because the deliverance of the church and the destruction of its enemies are not effected immediately, therefore they will never be effected. God will do his own work in his own method and time, and we may be sure that they are always the best. Thus corruption is driven out of the hearts of believers by little and little. The work of sanctification is carried on gradually but that judgment will at length be brought forth into a complete victory."
 
As Christians, God's Covenant people, every enemy, whether a dictator, affliction, unjust law, sickness, war, rumor of war, or a thorn in your flesh comes to us by way of the hand of our Heavenly Father.
 
They are not random happenings.
They are not happening apart from God's decree.
They are not purposeless.
They are not meant for your harm, but for your good.
What besetting sin seems defeated at times, and when you least expect it rears its ugly head?
 
Keep fighting in the Spirit and put to death that besetting sin.
What weakness, sickness, or physical reality seems to assault you over and over with no relief in sight, leaving you wondering "why me?"
 
Remember that it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer for His Namesake. Patiently persevere through the affliction, remembering that suffering with faith in Christ is conforming you to His image.
 
Remember brothers and sisters, that Jesus said we would have tribulations in this life. It is part and parcel for the course. We will have tribulations in this world, but He has overcome the world.
All the enemies of Christ can be arrayed against you, and you need not fear. All they can do is kill you. As we seek to find our way in this world which seems to be increasingly against Christ, remember, the world tried to kill Him long ago, failed, and desires to kill those who identify Him all day long, like sheep to the slaughter.
 
John Flavel says this of death in his book Keeping the Heart:
"Death is harmless to the people of God. Death's arrows have no sting in them. Why then are you afraid that your sickness may be unto death? If you were to die in your sins; if death were to reign over you as a tyrant, to feed upon you as a lion does upon his prey; if death to you were to be the precursor of hell- then you might reasonably startle and shrink back from it with horror and dismay! But if your sins are blotted out; if Christ has vanquished death on your behalf, so that you have nothing to encounter but bodily pain, and possibly not even that; if death will be to you the harbinger of heaven- why should you be afraid? Why not bid death welcome? It is easy and harmless; it is like putting off clothes, taking your rest."
 
Why is this important for us to grasp? 
Because in this life there will always be enemies to fight. You can either complain and grumble about the hand you've been dealt and NEVER realize the abundant life Christ purchased for you by His death, burial, and resurrection, or you can walk by faith rather than by sight, living a life of obedience to Christ even in the face of persecution, famine, economic hardship, temptation, sickness, or death.
 
You can endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ and take the enemies left in the land head on with Christ leading the charge,
or you can whine about how hard it is these days for good people to catch a break, and never realize how blessed you are to be afflicted right along with all the saints of old as they follow in Christ's train.
 
If you are able, please kneel as we confess our sins to God.
 
Heavenly Father,
Please forgive us for our grumbling,
Forgive us for resenting the trial that You send,
Forgive us for seeking to stay Your rod of affliction while missing all its benefits.
Please forgive us for fearing worldly enemies, forgive us for whining about the thorn in our flesh, and please forgive us for listening to the devil's lies rather than resisting him.
Father, help us to delight in the battles which remain,  and wage war with faith in Your Son.
In Jesus's name we pray,
Amen.
 
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:  
 
Jeremiah 32:38-41 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.  I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.  I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.
 
 To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts! 
(From the 02/27/2022 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)

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