God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1.
Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise: I “will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.” Revelation 3:10. If they could have the assurance of pardon they would not shrink from torture or death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be reproached.
On every hand they hear the plottings of treason and see the active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great apostasy may be terminated and the wickedness of the wicked may come to an end. But while they plead with God to stay the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge back the mighty tide of evil. They feel that had they always employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward from strength to strength, Satan’s forces would have less power to prevail against them.
They afflict their souls before God, pointing to their past repentance of their many sins, and pleading the Saviour’s promise: “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Isaiah 27:5. Their faith does not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. Though suffering the keenest anxiety, terror, and distress, they do not cease their intercessions. They lay hold of the strength of God as Jacob laid hold of the Angel; and the language of their souls is: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
The time of trouble is the crucible that is to bring out Christlike characters. It is designed to lead the people of God to renounce Satan and his temptations.
Maranatha p. 273
When Esther Marie was a little girl, she had long, reddish-brown hair. I thought it was so pretty. She did not like it, however, as it took too long to comb out the tangles that always seemed to gather during the night. She announced one day, when she was five years old, that she wanted it cut short. I refused.
One morning a short time after her announcement, while Eileen, Ron and I were still asleep, she talked her brother into “playing” barber. Ronnie Jay did not have the skill to cut hair and made quite a mess of things. As she looked into the mirror, she was very sorry that she had wanted a haircut. Ronnie Jay, ever wanting to help, tried to fix it. Of course, he just made matters worse.
When we woke up, what a sight met our eyes! I evened it up as best I could, but it still looked terrible. I used this as an object lesson and explained that disobedience has consequences and that she would just have to learn to live with her decision. It was not a lasting problem, thankfully. Hair grows; and within months, her hair was back to normal.
Sometimes the decisions we make in life are not so easily rectified. Sometimes in a moment of weakness we make a decision that changes the course of our life. One little unguarded moment, playing with sin “just this once” can start us on a downward course that lasts a lifetime.
God’s Holy Word is full of examples of this very thing. ” Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” 1 Cor 10:11; Rom 15:4
When Abraham listened to his wife in the matter of Hagar, how little did he realize that the world would still be reaping the results of his decision. (Gen 16) When the angels hurried Lot, his wife, and his daughters away from the plain of Sodom, she made a decision that caused her instant death. (Gen 19) Instead of obeying the angels completely, even after that, Lot argued that he and his daughters be allowed to dwell in one of the little towns nearby. It was there that his two girls learned to practice the immorality of the daughters of the land resulting in the Moabites and Ammonites. Years later, these people were avowed enemies of the Children of Israel.
Pilate also reaped the consequences of his part in crucifying our Dear Saviour. He had heard of Jesus. He had opportunity to accept Him when Jesus talked with him during His trial. God even sent a dream to Pilate’s wife to help him to make the right decision. Yet, the governor wavered. He knew that the Jews had delivered Jesus up to be crucified because they were jealous of Him. He knew the Jewish leaders were afraid of losing their influence over the people. Pilate had the power to let Jesus go, but he wavered. The leaders saw his indecision and took advantage of it. “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat.” John 19:12,13
For worldly honor, Pilate allowed the King of Glory to be taken and crucified. To keep his job he compromised his convictions. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew that he should not condemn Him to death, but he did it to please the people. In that moment of compromise, he lost a far greater position than just an earthly one. He lost a place in Heaven for a few years of worldly honor. However, he did not keep his job long. History tells us that soon after, he was stripped of his position and eventually died a broken man.
May we carefully read the Bible stories considering the consequences each person experienced because of the decisions they made, that we may keep from making similar mistakes. May we firmly decide for Christ no matter how much we are ridiculed or shunned. May we determine to serve the Lovely Jesus first and last and always is my prayer.