Monday, July 18, 2016

Because He Lives: “But There's So Much Evil!"

 (Part of a series sharing my devotional thoughts from almost two decades ago. For the back story & links to other posts, see the first post in the series.)

If you are like most people who have experienced abuse and violence, you probably have some real questions about God. You may even have some wrong concepts about what God thinks of your pain. Would it surprise you to know that the Bible, the Word of God, very clearly shows that God always abhors violence, evil, and sin? He has an especially strong reaction when it is His own who suffer.
In fact, when we are hurting and experience the inevitable pains that come in life, we have the opportunity to experience God’s presence in a special way. Psalm 34:18-19 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” God’s Word is so powerful on this subject. Please just read the following verses, asking God to speak to your heart through them. My comments are in brackets [ ] to distinguish them from the Scriptures.
“For Thou art not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with Thee.
The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity.
Thou dost destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.” Psalm 5:4-6

“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;
for Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.”
Psalm 9:9-10

“For He who requires blood remembers them;
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”
Psalm 9:12

“For the needy will not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.”
Psalm 9:18

“O Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble; Thou wilt strengthen their heart,
Thou wilt incline Thine ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
that man who is of the world may cause terror no more.”
Psalm 10:17-18

“The Lord is in His holy temple;  the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” Psalm 11:4-5
[Remember: Your situation is never hopeless, because God is on His throne!]
“‘Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
now I will arise’, says the Lord, ‘I will set him in the safety for which he longs.’” Psalm 12:5

“I love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; 
He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils.

He sent from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless with Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
With the kind Thou dost show Thyself kind, with the blameless Thou dost show Thyself blameless. With the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure. And with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself astute. For Thou dost save an afflicted people; but haughty eyes Thou dost abase. For Thou dost light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by Thee I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God.”
Psalm 18:1-31

“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.”
Psalm 22:24

“How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in thee, before the sons of men! Thou dost hide them in the secret place of Thy presence from the conspiracies of man;
Thou dost keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.”
Psalm 31:19-20

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Psalm 34:18-19

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:1-3

“How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
the Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.”
Psalm 41:1

“For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His who are prisoners.” Psalm 69:33

“For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence;
and their blood will be precious in his sight.”
Psalm 72:12-14

“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the weak and needy, deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:3-4

“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.”
Psalm 140:12

“He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

[This verse shows how PERSONALLY God takes mistreatment of His own. Saul has been killing Christians. Jesus appears to Saul and says,]
“Saul, why are you persecuting ME?”
Acts 9:4

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