(Psalm 3; Genesis 4; Matthew 2:19-23 -3)
It’s a fact that for most of us, life is not a skip in the park. Regardless of how blessed we are, it is undeniable that the times of blessing are interspersed with battles – challenging times – more so for some than for others.
While we are in the midst of a battle, it can easily seem as though all is dreadful, and discouragement begins to weigh the heart down. Discouraged we remonstrate with God: ‘why, why does this always happen to me? Why can’t I get past this? IAm I cursed to always experience oposition and hardship? Will my opponents never let me be, but continue to triumph over me?’ It may sbegin to eem as though our frienemies, and even our ultimate enemy the devil, just wont quit,.
Well, if that’s you, here a word of encouragement: God is always watching over you for good, and He always comes to the rescue, no matter what. Though his perfect timing may not be what we would have it be, He always sends effective time, just when we (really) need it.
In Psalm 3, David is definitely enduring a challenging, rather than blessed phase. What makes it worse, he knows that he brought it on himself – he was under a curse because he had set up one of his most loyal soldiers to be killed in the heat of battle because he wanted to cover up his adultery with the man’s wife who was now pregnant with his child. He was told that the sword would not depart from his family, and true to this word, his favorite but spoiled son – Absalom – was trying to depose him, and he was now on the run, with his foes mocking him, doing their upmost to make his life as unbearable as possible (this was but the first manifestation of that curse, the effects of which were evident in following generations).
So far, so depressing – right? Well, here’s the heartening part: despite his heinous crimes, David was still beloved of the Lord – he had a very contrite heart, and loved the Lord passionately, with all of his might – and we see that far from ignore his cries for help, that when he cried out to the Lord to rescue him from his foes, the Lord did so. Indeed, he testifies that “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill….the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people….” Psalm 3: 5, 6
Adam and Eve’s line was not off to a good start – their son Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy, and (again) he tried to hide his crime, having the temerity to retort to God “am I my brother’s keeper’ when God, knowing what he had done, asked where Abel was. Despite this, when Cain protested the severity of the curse that befell him for his awful deed, God mitigated it somewhat, by marking him as being under God’s protection, so that others would not do to him, what he had done to Abel. God also gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth, who was of better character than Cain, and one of his near descendants Enoch was so godly, that he was one of the very few that was spared the actual death experience – we are told that he walked with God, and when he got to a certain age, he was seen no more because God took him: Genesis 5:24
Joseph might have felt bitter that his fiance had turned out to be more than he bargained for – engaged to be married, they hadn’t been intimate, yet she was pregnant. He listened when he was told by an angel to believe the outlandish story, and marry Mary after all. He listened again after the birth of the child – Jesus Christ – when he was warned, again by an angel, that they needed to flee an impending massacre that was motivated by the objective of killing their child. God reached out to Joseph, and gave him encouragement that helped him look beyond the immediate challenges – the humiliation, the whispers, the damage to Mary – and His – reputation, to better things in the future. God again sent a messenger to let them know when it was safe to return home, after those who wanted the child dead, were themselves dead and gone.
The Jewish nation was caught in an awful cycle of disobeying God and straying away from his ways, being reprimanded by prophets, not listening, being terribly oppressed by their enemies, and finally in their suffering and captivity, returning to God, to ask for his help and mercy. The nation was in the cycle when Jesus came of age to His purpose – the ministry of the Good News, and a sacrificial death to save humankind. Knowing His stiff necked and stubborn people, God stepped in, sending a forerunner, a messenger, to prepare their hearts, soften them up some, before the main Act. This was John the Baptist – Jesus’ cousin – who left the people in no doubt of their need for salvation, and alerted them that the salvation they so desperately needed was coming soon. John fulfilled his role faithfully, even up to baptising Jesus – who was sinless – so that all righteousness might be fulfilled.
Of course, devising, destining and sending His only begotten Son, to pay the price for the ingrained falleness of humankind, to permanently defeat the ultimate enemy was the ultimate intervention – by Christ’s sinless but torturous death the ultimate enemy, the devil, was defeated once and for all.