Crying Out for Help
When we are helpless, we are best-placed to learn true faith.
At the beginning of Judges 6, the people of Israel once again “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD” (v 1). They had trapped themselves in a recurring cycle of rebellion and repentance, slow to learn and quick to forget that their difficult circumstances were often related to their disobedience. Ultimately, the Israelites struggled to understand that God would allow them to come to a place where their only response would be to cry out for help so that He could bring them into communion with Himself, for His glory and their good. He does this for us today, too, working out His purposes in the lives of those who know themselves to be helpless. It is those who know they are “poor in spirit,” not those who think they are sufficient in themselves, to whom Jesus promises the kingdom (Matthew 5:3).
Some of us mistakenly believe that if we just follow Jesus, everything will always fall into line. Deep down, we think that God will always and immediately intervene to remove hardship. When God doesn’t answer our prayers how or when we want, we wonder if we can still trust that He knows best. Perhaps you are in that place today.
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, God promises to come to our aid when we ask: “The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 121:6-8). These are guarantees of God’s word. Yet the way in which He fulfills such promises is often along rocky terrain, amid dark valleys, and in uncomfortable waiting rooms.
When God interceded with His people in Judges, He turned them back to His word, convicting them. The prophet, speaking the very words of God, reminded the Israelites of what they needed to know: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery … I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God …’ But you have not obeyed my voice” (Judges 6:8, 10). But then, in a little twist of the tale, just when we anticipate God’s judgment, we read instead that “the angel of the LORD appeared” with these words of mercy: “The LORD is with you” (v 12).
Where would we be if God gave to us the judgment that we deserve instead of demonstrating His mercy day by day? He did not give the people of Israel what they deserved, nor has He done so with you and me. God’s mercy and grace know no end. But in His goodness, He often uses the hard things in our lives to teach us that He is all we need. The removal of a good thing causes pain but can also bring us to cry out to God and find in Him our strength and peace and hope. Cry out to Him for help, filled with the hope that the God who hears you truly knows what is best. The Lord is with you!
Peace with God Through Faith
1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we1 have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith2 into this grace in which we stand, and we3 rejoice4 in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
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