This past week has been unsettling with the terrorist attacks in Paris and Lebanon. Syrian refugees attempt to flee their land and we are all left wondering what to do. Fights break out on social media over how we care for them and ongoing political differences divide us. And let’s not even bring up the silly red cups again. Our world feels chaotic. We wonder who to blame. And all the while, holidays are on the horizon, and our hearts feel far from “peace on earth”.
This caused me to spend some time in scripture looking for answers. I knew what I’d find. I’ve done this before. But, nonetheless, I had to go through the motions again so that my heart could catch up.
These unsettling times are nothing new. Israel began seeing their share of terror when they were no longer satiated by the Lord. When they desired a human king “like the other nations”, they showed their true allegiance. God told them they didn’t need anyone else, but gave into their desire. Sometimes, he gives us what we want to show us our need for him. It didn’t bode well for Israel.
As they continued to show their true allegiance, God warned Israel repeatedly with prophets who could, at times, barely utter the warnings from him. “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities (sin) have risen higher than our heads… Ezra 9:6 Still, God forgave his people over and over again, when they turned from their sin and turned back to him.
As I think about these times that we are in, I am convinced that sin and evil reign in this world and we are in desperate need of repentance. We live in such a grace-filled, let it all-hang-out-time period, that I’m afraid we are “light” on our sin without truly understanding the weight of it. I wonder the last time, that we as Christians uttered anything close to the prayer of Ezra, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush my face to you..”. Or do we just mourn each time another tragedy happens, but quickly go about our days with little to no care for our choices or that thousands upon thousands of people are dying in theirs?
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in time of trouble. Psalm 33:1