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Elkmont Baptist Church
How Long, O Lord?
May God bless you all!
"How long, O Lord?"
Have you asked that question of God? Have you been under the "way made to press" (another way to say tribulation)? You are not alone. Indeed, many of us have asked this question several times. This is not purely an issue of patience either - it is often an issue of justice. Consider this verse:
Revelation 6:10: "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"
These saints are already martyred and safe under the throne of God - no longer suffering; in a way, no need for patience as we think of it. But still they cry, "How long?"
Waiting for God's timetable is very hard for us, and our very temporal perspective has a real hard time seeing things from an eternal perspective - from God's perspective. But we humans have had this problem a long time. Consider these few verses:
Psalm 13:1-2: "To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be
exalted over me?"
Psalm 35:17-18: "Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people."
Psalm 74: 9-11: "We see not our signs:
no more any prophet: neither
among us any that knoweth how long. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name forever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck
out of thy bosom."
Do you see a pattern?
Today we are upset when God does not meet our timetable. Is seems those in the past had the same problem. We might ask, "How long, O Lord do we have to bear under the world conditions and threats? under godless leaders? under wicked media conditions? under devastating court decisions?" And you would be right where King David and others found themselves.
It may surprise you to know that we humans are not the only ones to ask that question . . . consider:
Zechariah 1:12-13: "Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me
So frustrated was David that he asked God to "pluck His hand out of His bosom" - implying that He was just lying back watching the world go by not lifting a finger to save it. Such is the way we often feel. The angel of the Lord watched Jerusalem endure indignations for 70 years and wanted comforting words. Look back at Psalm 13 and let's see how it is concluded:
Can we trust in His mercy while we wait? Can we rejoice in His salvation? Will you sing while waiting? Has He been bountiful towards you?
Beloved, I also cry with you, "How long, O Lord!" and pray that as I wait - I let God renew my strength.
Psalm 13:3-6: "Consider
hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep
death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me."