May 28, 2015

God is still God

1 Chronicles 23:1–23:32; 2 Timothy 3:1–9; Psalm 88

When David was old, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. Then he did something that could be a great example to the kingdom of God today. He made some changes . . .  

First, David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was 38,000 men. Then David said, “Twenty-four thousand of these shall have charge of the work in the house of the Lord, 6,000 shall be officers and judges, 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the Lord with the instruments that I have made for praise” as he organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi. (1 Chronicles 23:2–6)

He explained later, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever. And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service.” (1 Chronicles 23:25–26) Their situation had changed, so they didn’t need to do things they way they always did them.

My first thought went to those congregations who become stuck in habits that are no longer effective, but this applies to me also. Since graduation a couple weeks ago, I’m no longer studying several hours a day. My routine must change. I don’t want to go back to pre-study days because what God has taught me needs to be put into practice. I’ve thought of several things, and am now in the process of figuring out what to do next.

And times have changed. Since the NT was written, putting the history of Christianity on a popularity graph would reveal plenty of ups and downs. Currently, depending on what part of the world is in view, it could be at either end of the spectrum. Right now, Christian is not popular in my culture. This was predicted . . .

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1–7)

Not too many decades ago, most people knew the Gospel and many considered that the Bible is the Word of God even if they had not put their faith in Christ. This has changed. Greater numbers consider the Bible obsolete and for many, Jesus is only a swear word. This has an impact on how they hear what Christians have to say and how they view what Christians do.

Complicating that is the sense of God abandoning His people. We pray and see no answers. We struggle against the enemy and feel beaten. We talk to people about faith and at best get blank stares. Yet I’m encouraged by those ‘Psalms of lament’ that express my feelings, such as this one. It begins with these sad words . . . 

“O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.” (Psalm 88:1–5)

Today’s devotional writer offers comforting thoughts for those days when I feel that God is far away. He says if God was willing to abandon His only Son on a cross to redeem me, then He is certainly trustworthy. He will not forsake me. I also know He will help me as I consider changes and adapt to new things. Regardless of what goes on I our world, God is still God. Amen!

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