Scripture Reading: Psalms 81 - 83 …
As Asaph writes his Psalms he calls out to God: "O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still" (83:1). This should be our prayer today. We know that God is always at work and we don't have to beg God to DO something, because God is always doing something. Yet, the desire of our hearts ought to be the same as that of Asaph in Psalm 83: "Let them know that You, whose name is the LORD - that You alone are the Most High over all the earth" (83:18). Few people express this desire today … that the true God, our Creator, the "God of Jacob" (81:4), would be known by all people.
Watching the events going on in Israel, and the nations around Israel who state their desire to destroy the Jewish people, is a constant reminder that Satan and the enemies of the one true God are opposed to all that God is doing and plans to do. Listen to the words of Psalm 83:4-5: "'Come,' they say, 'let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.' With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you …" So Asaph prays that God would not keep silent "so that men will seek Your name, O LORD" (83:16).
As we approach the return of Jesus Christ to earth, we who by His grace know God through the testimony of His Word and Spirit, and who by His power at work in us have placed our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, "sing for joy to God our strength; (and) shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” (81:1). When we worship our God we are not offering praise to an "unknown god,” (Acts 17:23), but to the God who has made Himself known. God said to all of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were His people outwardly, "Hear, O my people, and I will warn you - if you would but listen to me, O Israel" (81:8).
God said again, "You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the LORD your God …" (81:9-10). "BUT, my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices" (81:11-12). This is similar to what Paul writes of the unbelievers in his day who pursued sin and refused to turn from it. He writes in Romans 1 that God "gave them over," God allowed them to condemn themselves, for their evil hearts knew only the way of sin and refused to listen to His warnings. Still, God was at work, saving a remnant by His grace.
So it is today. In the name of "love" those who claim to know the one true God allow others to remain in the darkness of other religions because they believe Jesus wants them to "love" them. Of course He does, but what does "love" mean? It does not mean coming to them as though each of us is entitled to our own beliefs and "respectfully listening" to the "faith" of others. They do not know God! They are perishing!! How long will those in the visible church today stand idly by, engaging others in endless "dialogue," while they face eternity in hell? What are WE doing? What am I doing to proclaim the good news and to warn others of God's coming judgment?
Asaph testifies that "God presides in the great assembly; He gives judgment among the 'gods' …" (82:1). Amidst all the religions of the world, God holds court. And He calls those who know Him to "defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; (and to) maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. (To) rescue the weak and needy; (and) deliver them from the hand of the wicked" (82:2-4). Whom is he describing? Most think it is those with physical needs, and we are certainly to have compassion for those who are weak, fatherless, poor, oppressed and needy … but there is more! What is WORSE than all of that are those who are SPIRITUALLY weak and fatherless, who are spiritually poor and weak and needy and who are trapped by the evil in themselves and in the world and the evil one.
Paul says to his young friend, Timothy, "The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" (II Timothy 2:24-26). THAT is the "love" Jesus calls His disciples to have for others. Love does not allow others to perish without warning them of God's coming judgment and offering them the only escape through faith in Jesus Christ.
O how I long for Jesus to return, and yet I grieve for the masses of people who ignorantly march toward eternal death. Like Asaph and others who have gone before me, I pray, "O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still …" (83:1) … and then he prays that God would consume His enemies and the enemies of His people, that He would "cover their faces with shame so that men will seek Your name, O LORD. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that YOU, whose name is the LORD - that YOU alone are the Most High over all the earth!" (83:16-18).
As we who believe, who by God's grace have received the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ (a faith that HE has worked in our hearts by His Word and Spirit) … as we sing for joy to God our strength, may we also be busy proclaiming God's truth, warning those who remain in the darkness of God's coming judgment as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, offering forgiveness and life to all who believe in Him. May God use us to call His chosen ones to Himself as we seek to bring glory to His Name.
"Father in heaven, praise and honor and glory be to Your Name! I sing for joy to You, O LORD, my Savior and my Rock. You are my refuge and my strength, my ever-present help in times of trouble and my joy and hope throughout my days on this earth. Without You there would be no joy, no hope and no peace, and without Your grace in Jesus there would be no LIFE, for anyone. Father, use me to proclaim Your truth and deal with Your enemies and mine, in Your time and in Your way, that all the world may know that You alone are the Most High over all the earth! In Jesus' name, Amen"