Seeing the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus predicted its destruction when He said, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2 NKJV). The Apostles asked, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4 NKJV). Jesus listed many “signs:” “wars and rumors of wars,” “earthquakes in various places,” “famines and troubles” (Mark 13: 7-8 NKJV). Jesus linked “tribulation” connected to “’the abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet” connected to Jerusalem’s destruction, which occurred in A.D.70. All of these “signs” were for “this generation” which would “by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Mark 13:30 NKJV). None of these signs had anything whatsoever to do with predicting the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ!
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.” Selah. (Psalm 61:1‑4). When my heart is overwhelmed. . .to be over-whelmed means, “to the mind covered or muffled up with sorrow.” [Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies]. What do we do when our hearts are simply overwhelmed? This psalm should give comfort to many a person who has struggled in finding words to express to God. The psalmist tells us how to deal with situations such as this.
First of all, we are instructed to pray. The very thing that we may struggle with is what we are instructed to do. I am reminded of the statement made by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The psalmist asked God to “attend unto my prayer.” Listen or give attention to my prayer. We have that assurance from God’s word in many places. John states, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (I John 5:14). Don’t forget to pray!
Second, remember what God has done for you. The psalmist proclaimed, “thou hast been a shelter for me.” Remember all the blessings you have enjoyed, both physical and spiritual. When we look at what God has done for us, it should help us to face whatever is confronting us at the present time.
Third, we need to abide in the tabernacle. To do so is to be in the presence of God. We need to stay close to God. We need to walk closer to God each day of our lives. Notice another statement found in Psalm 27:5 “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”
Finally, we need to trust God. We may not understand why certain things happen, but we need faith that is strong enough to trust God. (Psalm 62:8; Isaiah 26:3,4).
Pray. . . Remember. . . Abide. . . Trust.
Larry Cole – Montrose Church of Christ, Carthage, TN
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 12:12-13: “The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit. 13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble.”
Wicked people think the more people they ensnare, the bigger the crowd for God and the righteous to deal with. They think there’s safety in numbers, and this may be the thinking behind drinking and drug parties or gangs. Only “the wicked” seek the company of “the wicked” or influence others to join them in wickedness. “The wicked” are victims of their own stated wicked plans, untruths, and broken promises! Another proverb that deals with this is: Proverbs 21:10: “The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.” A psalmist clearly described them: “He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength” (Psalm 10:8-10). Only “the wicked” target the helpless. Only “the wicked” would gang up on and beat to death an 88-year old World War II veteran; or rob and kill a 99-year old woman; or blow up unarmed citizens and children in the name of a “justifiable war;” or involve innocent children in perverseness before they know right from wrong.
The righteous are a complete contrast, whose “root” (core values) is to produce goodness, and therefore “will come through trouble,” a phrase meaning survive with good morals intact. This is a complete contrast to Apostles of Jesus Christ who healed a helpless lame man (Acts 3:1-10; 4:8-10). Other proverbs that show this contrast are: “In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28); “The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). For Christians, Peter warned of the “judgment” of persecution upon both the righteous and sinners, then added: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:17-19). Only Jesus Christ can deliver a soul from the ravages of tribulation (John 16:33).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
What trial has made me stronger? When I, along with 550 other folks, was laid off from a major gas pipeline company back in 1996. Many of us could have retired with just a few days until retirement, but the company’s cutoff date prevented that from happening. For a while, I was bitter, but later on realized that the layoff caused me to trust in the Lord more than I ever had before.
There’s a positive aspect in trials and tribulations, in that they cause us to trust in the Lord for everything we have, and be thankful that we have such a loving and caring God.