A Shelter in the Storm
by Ray Harmer
I wonder why Psalms was not entitled “The Lamentations of Israel”? Many of the Psalms have Israel confronting their enemies; of which, they never lacked. To this day, they are the most hated of people. Israel is surrounded by enemies. They cannot go anywhere in the world where they can live peaceably. Even in America they cannot live free from persecution. Does this example remind you of anything? How about Christians? True followers of the Lord Jesus suffer persecution no matter where we reside. We have much in common with Israel.
We, as believers, do not suffer the persecution that our brethren do in foreign countries; nor the pain of our Christian ancestors in this country. We could speak of the burnings and drownings of the faithful. Read the words to the hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers”, and you will see it is a testimony of their trials. There are those who hide to worship God for fear of being killed.
I dread the thought of waking to find our country surrounded by those threatening our annihilation, as did Israel in 1967 (“For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance (Ps. 83:2-4). Sounds like lines from a present-day newspaper. Just as horrifying is being rounded up for extermination in a concentration camp, or being a missionary having your car lit afire with you in it. What is the root of this anger? A hatred for the things of God! The world would do the same to us if they could. Remember what Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
Most Jews are not believers of Messiah, but the fact their roots are in the true-God make them targets like Christians. If people of Judeo-Christian faith would disavow the True One, our problems would cease immediately. To this we say- never Lord! God will exonerate the faithful. “And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee (Deu. 30:7). When we are rebuked for our faith, remember the root is hatred of God. The psalmist petitions God in Ps.83:17-18, “Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” We pray that all mankind would be saved, but that will not happen. We will always have enemies amongst us as followers of Christ. But God will take care of it all and it will be worth it all!
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