“… Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist, Says the Lord. But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).
We are all now witnessing what is happening today in congregations in Israel and around the world. Many of the congregations’ buildings are standing empty, most of the congregations have moved to meetings through the electronic media, traveling abroad has stopped, conferences were postponed and the social ties between us dwindled, due to the physical distance.
God sits on His throne in Heaven and knows exactly what is going on Earth. He is in control of everything that happens in the world! He allows all of these to happen, but to whom is God looking today?
He is looking:
At – the poor, a humble man, who is in both physical and spiritual lack and knows that only God will fill this lack.
At – the one with a contrite spirit, one who is low in his spirit, who needs the power from God and depends only on Him and not on himself or others.
At – the one who trembles at His word, a one who takes seriously His word and does it and not only hear it.
We believe that the Lord calls us, the true believers, to examine ourselves today personally. We must check our relationship with the Lord, to come close to Him, to take more quiet time with Him, to be strengthened in faith, trust Him more and prepare for what is yet to come in the future for this world, according to His word.
In these hard times that are coming over the world, our patience is tested. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:10). In this time of trial over the whole world, we, the children of God, must focus our gaze with whole faith on the Lord and not on the troubles. We can learn from the case of Peter with Yeshua: “So He said, “Come. ”And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:29-31).
When Peter turned his gaze from Yeshua and looked on the strong wind and the waves (on the troubles), he fell into fear and started to sink. When he cried for help from the Lord and said: “Lord, save me”, Yeshua helped him, but told him: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” God will save out of troubles those who believe in Him with whole heart, asking for His help out of weakness and trust in Him and not in their own strength (pride), as it happened with Peter. He got to the end of his own strength and only then God ‘entered into the scene’. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete…” (James 1:2-4).
We might be tempted and trust our wisdom and power, in order to solve the problems. But only if we will trust the Lord and His faithfulness to us, and stand rightly before Him, we will succeed to bear and overcome the troubles by His grace. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
The word of God says that there is a role for the trials (essays) that come upon us, and sadden us temporarily. They are coming in order to refine our faith, which is precious more than gold refined in fire and it will bring us in the end, with joy, to the inheritance, which is hidden for us in Heaven. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3-7).
If this pandemic which is coming over the world, (it is only the beginning of the troubles), has brought us into fear, worry, pressure and search after physical solutions for the situation, then what will happen in the coming future, when the much harder trials will come over the world, as it is written in Matthew 24? Suppose a cure will be found for this pandemic. Then what will happen when earthquakes will come? What will happen when in a time of a war missiles will fly over our land? …. The cure for all these is – f a i t h !!! “…the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).
It is impossible to prevent the troubles that will come upon us, because this is the way God examines our faith. He knows our heart, but the trials are for us, so we will know what is in our heart. If there is sin in our life which stands between us and Him, (like lack of faith, lack of trust in Him, doubt or any other thing), we will confess to Him and it will be forgiven, as it is written in 1 John 1: 5-10.
If we will hold on to faith in His power and will trust Him to the end, and will not affected by sight, of what has happened around us, we will see the watchful hand of God upon us, through the hope He has given us in His word: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18). After standing firm in faith within the temporary pressure of this period, God promises to give us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. Hallelujah! We must hold on His promises and to be strengthen in them. They are our anchor in the storm that has come over the world.
Now, in these difficult time, we, the true believers, must be different from others. While people around us are worry, we must be calm in Him, when people around us are full of fear, We must be hopeful of Him, when people around us are desperate, we must relay on His promises, to receive strength from Him and to encourage and comfort them. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Thus we can be a witness to the glory of our Father in heaven.
At the same time, we must continue to spread in the world the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, which is in Yeshua the Messiah. As to God’s word, the light of the knowledge of His glory, is a precious treasure, found in our body, which is weak and fragile like pottery – so everybody will know, that His might and power are in us, coming from God and not from us.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
True, this period is not easy for all of us, but the word of God guides us to rejoice in the Lord even in these difficult times. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7). These peace and joy of God within us, and also the faith, hope, and love of God in us, they are our strength, that come from Him and we must testify them before people in this time, by His grace.
We know and sure that after the Messiah birth pangs, Messiah Himself will come in His glory…
God’s word encourages us, in this time, to look up above the circumstances and to wait for our redemption: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). Amen and praise God!