Every Tribe Every Nation

My heart has been heavy all week with the tragedy of what is going on in Syria. As a new mom, I have been thinking of these families who are suffering and whose children are dying. How can they bear it? And this week Pastor Dan shared an update from his trip to Greece — hearing about the refugees who are trapped in these camps, perhaps for the rest of their lives is so disheartening. Where is their hope?

These are the questions the Psalms ask often. Where is the hope? Why is God far off? And so this Sunday we prayed through Psalm 10 in the service. I am reposting it here as a reminder to pray through these words, asking God to remember those who are suffering around the world today.

Psalm 10

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by[b] him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
    like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”

12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

OK, on to this week’s sermon, which you can watch right here.

We read Luke 2 and Revelation 7 this week, and I loved the connection! We’re in the season of advent right now, which anticipates Christ’s coming — both His birth and His return one day. And although the Christmas season is joyful, there is an aspect of advent that is meant to make us ache. Advent encourages us to long — to beg for the long-awaited Saviour who is going to make things right. As we prayed through Psalm 10, we felt this. We longed for God to defend those in need, to step in and punish the evildoer. We asked Him to no longer hide Himself, but to show up in glory and triumph.

And this is what advent is about. We are waiting for Christmas — the day when Jesus is born and God’s answer is finally here. And now, day-to-day, we are waiting for Christ’s return. We are wanting the restoration to be complete, for every tear to be wiped away, for suffering to be gone. We want the pressure, the tribulation, to disappear forever.

And so reading Revelation 7 at the Christmas season is just perfect. It is here that we get a glimpse into what is coming — the Lamb worshiped by every tongue, tribe and nation. All is as it was meant to be. There will be no more need for advent, no more longing for His coming. He will be here, the ache will be gone, and hope will be realized.

So, at Christmas a few things come to mind:

  1. Pray and do. Let advent do its work. Allow yourself to feel the ache and longing. Things are not yet restored, and so many are in need of spiritual salvation and physical help. Pray for those who are in need. Do what you can to serve and love those around you. Pray for the salvation of those who don’t know Jesus.
  2. Make a choice. If you are not sure your salvation is secure in Jesus, get on it! We all face a choice — and we will either spend eternity with Jesus or we will not. God asks us to repent, to turn from our sin and acknowledge Him. Without Jesus, there is no other way. If you have accepted the Lord, make a choice to be that radical disciple Pastor Dan talked about. What does it truly mean to be a disciple of Jesus? As Dan said, it means we are secure, but not safe. We may be called out of our comfort zone for the sake of His name. Make a choice to step out.
  3. Rejoice! Jesus came, born as a baby to fulfill the promises of God and bring us salvation! And Jesus is coming! He will return one day to make all things new! We have such great hope in this. Rejoice in it this Christmas season!

 

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