Saturday, September 30, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeAll The NewsSTAND FIRM: In Uncertain Times, God Will Send a Reprieve

STAND FIRM: In Uncertain Times, God Will Send a Reprieve

We’re not the first of God’s people to navigate through challenging times. All of the history in the Bible, whether Old Testament or New Testament, finds God’s people in trying times. I believe we can learn a lot from those times to help navigate us today. That’s why I recently released a new book, For Uncertain Times: 40 Truths of God’s Care in National Distress.

I want to give a glimpse not just of my book, but of how we can gain direction from these times God’s people faced struggles nationally. I shared a glimpse from the time of Egyptian bondage (see 9/28 issue), the Assyrian invasion (see 10/5 issue)  and the Babylonian captivity(see 10/12 issue). This glimpse is taken from Daniel 5, II Chronicles 36 and Ezra 1, which tell of when God’s people were subject to the Persians.

Then

When King Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and rode into the city, he saw himself as a liberator. He did liberate the exiled Jews. Amazingly, it happened exactly as the prophet Jeremiah said it would, some 50-70 years earlier. To be even more precise, the prophet Isaiah mentioned King Cyrus by name twice — nearly 200 years before the event happened. After inheriting the exiled people of God, King Cyrus issued a decree for the temple to be rebuilt and allowed the Jews to return home. 

A reprieve had come. The captivity had ended. Jews returned home on a mission to rebuild the temple. Conditions for the Jewish people also seemed to ease initially under Persian rule. Reprieves are constant when there is calamity in the Bible. When God’s people face hardship, even the warnings of difficulty always come with a promise that the hardship will end, and better times lie ahead.

There’s always hope. 

Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were the chief prophets of the exile. Jeremiah and Ezekiel especially told of the punishment that had befallen Judah. They pronounced the severity of the city’s destruction and captivity. The two didn’t mince words about the anger of God due to the people’s sin. Yet, in the writings of both, they tell of the end of the captivity. They tell of the people’s return and ultimately the establishment of an eternal kingdom. Both even point to the New Covenant. Daniel speaks a lot about this eternal kingdom to be ruled by the Messiah.

What Cyrus did for the Jewish people was remarkable. He returned the articles of the temple taken by Nebuchadnezzar and funded the program to rebuild the temple.

Now

By now, we know what God promises, and we know that what He’s placed in His Word will come to pass. In a previous article, you read the instruction: “God will bring His Word to pass.” Another article gave the truth: “God will pull the trigger.” Those truths resurface every time promised calamity comes, but they apply to more than just the punishment God will bring to pass or pull the trigger on. He will also bring blessings to pass. Good promises will come true. God will do good things.

He’s going to bring punishment. He’s going to allow suffering, but He will also do good. He will bring reprieves. God’s people experience darkness, as we’ve presented, but there will always be a sunrise.

Though God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, they were rescued and brought to the Promised Land.

Though Assyria invaded and destroyed much of the nation, God supernaturally rescued His people.

Though His people received what they deserved for turning from Him and toward idols, the captivity only lasted 70 years.

Though there will always be darkness to walk through, the sun will rise.

Interestingly, in Revelation 22, as the apostle John relays the nature of the New Heavens and New Earth, he writes, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:4). Therefore, for the believer, dire situations will never end in darkness. Ultimately, darkness will no longer exist, for God the Father will dwell with us.

We can count on these reprieves because it’s in God’s nature. In Exodus 34, God reveals Himself to Moses more intimately than He has with anyone in history. It was an emphasized moment. What God revealed of Himself at that moment is something we should take to heart. God revealed His nature. Although He’ll punish sin, He prefers to give His people mercy and love. “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation’” (Exod. 34:5-7 NIV).

— Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm (standfirmministries.com). You can get a copy of Jake’s new book, For Uncertain Times, on Amazon.

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