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“Where Is God in Our World” (Part 1)
Where is God right now our world? Yes – our World with all the fear and anxiousness from the pandemic – the riots – crime – the politics – war – terrorist acts. We want to shout to the heavens: “O Lord, why do You stand afar off? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).
We cannot help to wonder – Where is God in a calamitous World? Where is God in the midst of all this turmoil? Where is God in the agony of creation? Why doesn’t God stop these tragedies and violence? These are the questions in many people’s minds.
These times are perplexing and unsettling for all of us. So . . . How is our faith? G. K. Chesterton quoted: Faith is always at a disadvantage – it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all conquerors. It’s always hammered. It’s always being attacked but the Bible will always rise up to outlive its pallbearers.”
II. Problems of the World (Vs. 1-11).
Let’s first look at the problems of the world. In Psalm 10 verses 1 to 11 – the psalmist is talking about the Prideful people – Wicked people – greedy people – proud people, etc. Every one of us face problems from these kinds of people. And sometimes we may even join them at times. How can we conquer what is working against us?
Edmund Hillary – a New Zealand Mountaineer, and explorer was asked: “What is the biggest challenge for you when you climb mount Everest?” He said interestingly – “It is not mountains we conquer but ourselves – discouragement, disappointment, dispiritedness.”
Problem in themselves do not make your life hell or heaven – it is your reaction or response of the problems. It is the reactions to the crises. It is the reaction of our faithful life.
When challenges come your way – when problems come your way – how are your responses to the problems?
A small storeowner was being pressured to sell his store to the owners of a large department store who had bought every building on the block, except his. The small store owner refuse to sell, and they eventually opened their huge store on either side of the small one, with a big banner running from one side to the other, proclaiming in huge letters “Grand Opening.”
Feeling equally humble, the small storeowner did finally outsmart the large department store. Below the grand opening sign, across the front of his small store, the man put up a small banner over his door: “Main Entrance.” Well, that is one creative way to deal with frustration or disappointment or problems of the world.
Job lived in the problems of the world. You know – how he handles it? God knows everything whether it is good or bad – and that was his assurance. He trusts the Lord with all of his life.
Job 42:2 – “I know that you can do everything; and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from
Job 10:23 – “But He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Job knows the power of the Lord. Though we live in the darkest situation – our faith should be like Job’s for Nothing is impossible with our God.
Job 13:15 – “Though he slays me, yet will I trust him; I will defend my own way before him.”
It was the greatest display of faith in the Lord to overcome the world.
Isaiah 55:8-9 – “Some faiths are Commercial faith, some faiths are conditional faith, but Job’s faith was neither commercial faith nor conditional faith; it was a committed faith. My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
Romans 9:19-21 – “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”
III. Proposal to our God (Vs. 12-15).
“Arise, O Lord! O God lift up your hand! do not forget the humble – Please do something” – Psalm 10:12.
The Psalmist knows God’s will is done in heaven. He needs it is done on earth as well. The psalmist recognizes an important fact here. And that is He is powerless to make the change.
The wicked are beyond him – but they are not beyond God. The strength to conquer lies with God alone. “Lift up your hand” and remember the afflicted. Sometimes God’s “No” means “Yes.”
(Ill) Augustine in his autobiographical work “Confessions” tells the story of his mother Monica’s constant prayers for him. She wished that one day her wanderer son would become a committed Christian. When Augustine decided to leave North Africa and sail for Rome – she was horrified. She believed that with Rome’s cosmopolitan environment, he would go further astray. She pleaded with him not to sail and prayed with tears that God would intervene – but to no avail.
Later, Augustine inscribed these words in the Confessions as part of his recollection of the incident: “But thou, taking thy own secret counsel and noting the real point to her desire, did not grant what she was then asking in order to grant to her the thing that she had always been asking.”
God said, “No” to Monica’s immediate petition that her son does not sail to Rome in order to respond to “the real point to her desire” namely – her son’s conversion. After spending some time in Rome – Augustine traveled to Milan where he met Bishop Ambrose who played a key role in Augustine’s acceptance of the Christian faith.
Augustine’s mother prayed for her son for 17 years. And she prayed 30 years for her husband. What a faithful woman!
Break their power: “Break the arm of the wicked and evil man” – Psalm 10:15.
The Psalmist prayed this prayer – telling exactly what he feels. He wants God to break the power of the wicked and to execute their evil acts. Break them – until the wickedness has disintegrated and disappeared. God is seeing what is going on – He is not at a distance – He is not concealed – So maybe it is that God is merely biding his time.
Habakkuk 2:3-4 – “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. But the just shall live by his faith.”
The Apostle Paul seized – and he wrote: “He who through faith is righteous shall live” (Cf. Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11).”
Martin Luther rediscovered the same biblical truth and made it the hallmark of the 16th century Reformation. The faith of Both Paul and Luther were marked by them knowing when to wait patiently in prayer. They also knew what being faithful meant.
IV. Providence from Our God (V. 16-18).
Verses 16 to 18 are talking about the providence from our God. Psalm 10:16 “The Lord is king forever and ever.” The Lord reigns – regardless of what man does. God is with us! So, when things are bad – please remember that God is with us. And as you pray – perhaps even in our disappointment – that God is with us.
When evil seems to be having its way – summon the courage within you to remember that if God has worked before – He will certainly work again.
A magnificent passage in the Old Testament is the psalm of joy by the little known and seldom read prophet Habakkuk. He lived during a time of extreme adversity – probably 600 B.C. – when a dying Egypt was being beaten into submission by a growing Chaldea.
The Battle of Carchemish saw the two nations engaged in mortal combat – Prostrate Judah now exchanged masters: Chaldeans for Egyptians. Chains of bondage were now clutched by new hands.
For generations – the Hebrews suffered through invading armies. A Judaean planted his field – never knowing whether or not he and his family would partake of the fruit of it. People existed from day to day – always fearful that a marauding band would descend upon the village to burn – plunder – and kill.
As agricultural people – they depended upon the land – crops and herds – and when these failed – starvation came. It was a grim choice: death by starvation or by the sword.
In the midst of this affliction, Habakkuk affirmed that –
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” – 3:17-18.
MB B&S – No matter what it is – how impossible it may seem – you can always and forever trust God. No matter what your circumstances or how difficult it has become – you can trust God. No matter how evil the wicked oppose you – you can trust God.
A small, elderly lady in a charity hospital was dying of cancer. She was asked by her pastor, “Can I do anything for you?” “Oh, no, I have everything I need. God has been so good to me.”
In Christ – we find that quality of living which is not dependent upon circumstances for ultimate meaning and purpose. Adversity is a wind separating wheat and chaff. What we really are – often comes to light only when the going gets tough.
The superficial do not endure long amid difficult times. The Christian faith is never more gloriously expressed than during severe trial.
Gratitude to God – whatever the situation – this is faith. Why gratitude? Because God is God – He has made us – redeemed us – sustained us – He is life – without him our days would be meaningless. In Christ – each twenty-four hours has eternal significance.
Let us pray – O Thou, who doest all things well, we pray that after each experience of life – however dark and hard to understand – we may be able to see that Thy hand has been at work and to say: “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” May our faith and loyalty to the things of God never be dependent on the success of our earthly plans, nor contingent on prosperity according to the standards of the world. Rather, make our fellowship with the Master utterly independent of any outward circumstances of time and space. Amen.