Jeremiah 7-9, Psalm 16
It is so easy to focus on the wrong things. It is so easy to complain about and compare those things which are external rather than considering the harsher reality and considering those things which are internal. America's favorite pastime is complaining. Who has the worst job? Who has the most difficult family? Who has experienced the worst illness or losses? Who has it the worst financially? In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus did not differentiate the problems that befall humanity, when He said, "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house;". What differentiated us was whether we chose to take these difficulties resting on the foundation of the rock or sand. People love to question the fairness of God in terms of how available the gospel message is to certain people. When we read the Parable of the Sower by Jesus in Matthew 13:1-23, we notice the seed, which is the "word of the kingdom", does not change and is scattered indiscriminately. What differs is the condition of the soil, which represents our hearts and our desire and ability to allow that seed to take root.
We read in Jeremiah 9:23-24, "Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord." The problem lies in that man chooses to put their trust in the externals and themselves, rather than placing their trust on the Rock which will withstand any trial. We read in Jeremiah 9:12, "Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?" The people of Judah were destroyed and carried away into captivity because of their blindness to the only source of power that could have saved them, God. Instead, focusing on their own strength they were easy prey to the Babylonians.
Each one of us throughout our lives will face numerous trials, difficulties, and tragedies. Some will come upon us outside of our control. Others will befall us due to our own decisions and mistakes. We can continue to complain and compare who has it worse which is pointless, or we can learn to place our trust on God so that we can come through these trials stronger. When looking at our problems we can continue to point our fingers everywhere else but ourselves, only to find ourselves becoming increasingly hopeless. We can complain about the injustice of our nation, our leaders, our work environment, our home situation, etc. But rather than pointing our fingers outwardly, it would be better to point them inwardly. In the areas of sin, let us repent of them and bring them to the Cross, which is the only place that our burden can be lifted. Let us make a conscious decision every day to place our hope and our trust, no matter what befalls us, on the solid Rock of our Savior. Our wisdom and the wisdom of the world will prove shaky and will never support the weight of our burdens. But we have a God who is always listening and always available to carry us through our burdens. Through Him and Him alone we may experience joy despite our circumstances.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: