Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Mid-Day Devotion 1/26/10
“Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”
It was hardly the life that anyone could have dreamed for themselves or their children as servitude found itself so easily weighing them down amidst the slavery that had now so captured their souls and pained their spirits and their souls. They struggled and they suffered once more under the hands of their enemies as they were forced into foreign lands to bow before foreign rulers who cared not for them, but the expansion of their power and influence in this temporal existence.
Death would easily find itself at their doors as they were disgraced, and there was no rest for the weariness that they now found overtaking their lives. They hungered, they longed for relief and yet it seemed like it was so far off, as help seemed like it would never come and they would be forced to live their days as nothing more than slaves, held hostage to the ambition of vain rulers. The joy was gone from them as their hearts sunk deep within their chests and they were left with this deep, lingering feeling, wondering if there would ever be a time or a day when it would get better, when they would be restored to grace and find themselves once more amidst the homes they had so long ago been forced to abandon.
Where was their hope? What, in times like this, could they build their expectations on even as anticipation and hopefulness seemed to be ripped from their grasps and they were left as nothing more than the shattered frame of the people they had once been? What could they possibly build their faith on? What could they possibly draw any sort of optimism from to even begin to believe that finally this could draw to an end and they would find that, even through the darkness, the light of their lives would be restored?
For the Prophet Jeremiah, even as he found himself lamenting the fall of his people, the answer was clear. The Lord, His God, ever powerful, with a strength that transcended the ages and the might of this temporal existence, had the power to shatter any chains that so bound the hearts and the souls, the spirits and the minds of men. Even as force and slavery were upon the people, even as life was held cheap or without value by unrighteous men of sin and iniquity, there was a God in Heaven who contended with their cause and stood beside His people even as chaos and darkness seemed to reign in their lives.
It would be there, in that understanding, guided by that abiding faith, that He would cry out to the Lord, that never should His people be forgotten or forsaken. By His power they could be restored and renewed to the glories of the life that they had been forced from by the brutality of others. Then, finally, by grace, they would find the joy of their hearts once more returned to their being as their spirits were made light and the wounded, broken parts of their souls would be healed.
Perhaps life was different than Jeremiah had always hoped that it would be. Perhaps, it could have been, that it had taken him and his people to places that he had never really imagined that they would have been taken. It might have been that they had been led down a road that they had never dreamed of and now darkness seemed to reign in their lives as they were made slaves and servants, their pride and their glory ripped from their lives, as their spirits were broken and their souls were weighed down beyond measure. Yet even as that became their days and their months and their years and their generations, there was still a transcending hope that would be there for them as they struggled amidst it all to find the answers that had so eluded them.
For you see, the Prophet knew that there was a God, and even when it seemed as if He was far off or far distant from the strife and the struggle of His people, He was there, in the thick of it, to contend with the cause of His people, never failing them or abandoning them, never forsaking them or forgetting them, even as they faced the challenges of their lives, finding that darkness was all around them. In love and compassion He would forever work within their lives to set them free as the truth of His righteousness came to bear even in a world marked by sin and suffering, iniquity and pain, even when the chains of bondage sought so to bind men to a rock and cast them to a sea of despair that they might drown in the troubles that now had so engulfed them.
That is the promise of the Lord and it transcends the generations as He shows that He is ever faithful, and ever vigilant amidst the faithfulness that He shows on to His people, for the righteousness of the Lord is the devotion of His compassion as He shelters His people under His wings, showing that He is the rock of their salvation, their ever present help, their ever present refuge in their hour of need and trouble. God, He never changes in the love that He has for His beloved children, and, amidst that, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Even when it seems as if the situation is hopeless and pain and sorrow seem so near God is there to save His children, to show that there is nothing too great or too large that it overtakes the power of His hands. He is there even when it seems as if people are at their most alone and nothing can help them anymore, when the world and all of the things of it and in it have failed them and darkness seems to have swallowed them hole, leaving them the empty shell of the person they once were, the person they had once dreamed of being.
Through the redemption of Christ He has shown His compassion and His mercy, His love and His grace to His people, letting them forever know that there is nothing that can separate them from Him as His light shines upon their lives and He lifts the yoke of even the deepest bondage from them. It is the power of that Savior that breaks all the chains, no matter how great or thick or strong they may seem. It is in that love that we know that the Lord then, through the power of His Spirit, is near to all those who call upon His name.
It must be ours then to trust in Him just as Jeremiah had before, knowing that He will be our ever present help, our ever present compassion in times of trouble when we descend into chaos and unrighteousness and sin seems to be on the rise against us. It must be ours to know that He is a God of justice and freedom, who endows His children with the blessed gift of liberty against any captivity that seeks to so bind them, ransoming them from the life of slavery and servitude that would so engulf their souls, destroying their spirits.
Perhaps we may wonder where God is in all of this. But even as we do, God is right there by our side, showing unto us that His grace shall forever be sufficient for us as it makes us strong in the weak and wound, the bruised and battered places in our soul. It is then, when we open our eyes, to see the light that He offers, even when it seems like but a flickering flame in this world, do we realize that we have become more than conquerors in the name of His blessed Son and our lives are given meaning even in the captivity and the bondage of this world, for then shall we know that it has no hold, no power, no authority over us, as we have been cherished and loved as the sons of God, inheriting the blessings of His Holy name.
Lord, grant this unto us all.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
To Your righteousness do we flee dear Lord, seeking and imploring Your grace for our lives as we look to Your throne as the compass that guides our lives, that guides our spirits and our souls back home to You amidst the love that You have for us.
Let not our days be marked by brutal iniquity or dark pain, but contend forever with our cause that we shall know that there is no captivity or bondage, no slavery or exile that shall so darken our lives amidst the grim iniquity that can come to encompass this age and this temporal existence. Be beside Your people as they battle against the chaos and the pain, the suffering and the sorrow, the anguish and the agony that this world can offer and let them know that You walk beside them through all of the days of their lives even when they feel discouraged and think their life in vain as darkness so encompasses them and engulfs them as the old Adversary wages His war against them.
Restore them to the path of Your righteousness through the power of Your Holy Spirit, let none feel hurt or wounded and heal the injured places inside of Your people that they may know that there is God who loves them and cares for them amidst all of the struggles, all of the trials and the tribulations, all of the challenges that this world has in store for them. It is then that their faith shall be given voice and their hope shall be proven never in vain as Your grace and love comes to guide them as the light that makes way their path light amidst the mercy that you show unto them.
Then shall we forever know that there is a just God that contends forever with the cause of Your people as Your Spirit comes to guide their lives in the name of Your Son Christ Jesus.
Then shall we forever and always praise Your glorious name for the mercy that You have shown unto us through all the days of our lives.
In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.
Abide with us dear Lord, dwell amidst our lives by the power of Your righteousness and let the blessings of Your love come to abide in our spirits and our souls as we stand before the Cross of Christ, seeking and imploring Your mercy in the lives of Your people.
Hear the name of Your people as we raise the names of the prisoners and the hostages, the captives and the slaves, and find them amidst the dark and hidden places that they are held by the power of darkness and chaos in this world. Let them see that there is a God of grace, a God of love who stands beside them even as they find that hope is so far from them and pain seems so near at their heels. Then, in Your time, in Your way, set them free according to the promises that You have made for the liberty and the justice of Your people, showing unto them that the same God who contended with the cause of the suffering in the most of ancient of days, fights beside them with strength and authority, with compassion and mercy for their lives.
Let them not be held by unrighteousness for all times. Let those who work such pain in this world see the pain of the suffering that they cause. Lift from them the veil of hatred that so covers their eyes that they may look upon the hurt that they so create as they hold the gift of life that You have granted cheap that they may see life with love. Bring them to repentance that they may cast aside their darkness and dwell in light, bringing truth rather than lies, love rather than hatred into this world.
For our dear brother Ed do we pray dear Lord. Be beside him and his family as they struggle in the darkness that has come to bear in their lives and let them know that a God of love is beside them to lift from them the pain that has come to engulf them. Let them see Your hand in all they face and bring them to the peace that can only come from You.
And for all who struggle and suffer amidst agony do we pray. Whether it is a captivity of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul we uplift them to You dear Lord that no longer shall sickness or disease, poverty or intolerance shall chain down Your people amidst the suffering that it can bring and they shall know the freedom that only You can bring unto them.
For all of this do we pray in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.