Commentary by Walter Albritton


August 5, 2007


Fear Not, Keep the Faith, and Wait Patiently on the Lord


2 Kings 25:1-2, 5-7; Lamentations 3:25-33, 55-58


Key Verse: It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:26


          Hardly a week passes that someone does not express to me their concern about the terrible conditions of our world. The media make us constantly aware of the hunger, war, immorality, suffering, crime, and injustice that exist everywhere. Awareness of it causes us to grieve.

Lamenting it seems is one of humanity’s favorite pastimes. Just today a friend said with a sigh, “Surely God will not tolerate our sinfulness much longer; America is fast becoming Sodom and Gomorrah!”

Viewing the sordid mess we are in prompts some of us to ask questions. Why doesn’t God do something? If God is present, why is he silent? What should Christians do while waiting for God’s judgment to fall upon America? The Book of Lamentations can help us deal with these questions.

Lamentations is more than a book of complaints. It is a book of hope, faith, and love expressed in beautiful poetry. The author reminds us that God is in charge and that he is a God of compassion. The book encourages us to keep the faith, refuse to fear, and have confidence that in time God will act. He is not absent and he is not indifferent. Despite the way things may look to us, God is at work.

For example, it was God who allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take the Judahites into captivity. Their suffering was God’s punishment for their sins. Second Kings 24 makes this very clear. Zedekiah the King “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done.” The next verse (20) explains the captivity: “It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.”

The tragic end of King Zedekiah is sad to read: “He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:6-7).

What can we as Christians do while it seems that God is not acting? We can continue to do what is Christlike. We can continue to help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for orphans and widows, visit the imprisoned, and pray for the deliverance of people who are enslaved to sin.

We can rejoice that indeed the “Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.” We can give thanks for the character of our God who “although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.” What a beautiful truth: our God does not willingly afflict or grieve us! Hallelujah!

We can continue being faithful to our God in every way we can. We can remain confident that God knows what he is doing. He is not accountable to us. We are accountable to him. We can wait quietly for his will to be done, trusting Christ and Christ alone for our salvation.

Years ago I heard a devout Christian woman from Korea, Induk Pak, express a great truth in a simple statement. She said, “God is never in a hurry but he is always on time.” How true!

Our business is not to speculate about what God should do, but to focus on living as much like Jesus as possible. When our energy is devoted to doing that, we will have no time left to ponder the coming judgment. God is quite capable of handling such matters on his own timetable.

In the meantime, let us be about the Father’s business – sharing the good news of Jesus with those whose lives we are able to touch with love, faith, and hope.

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