Do Not Be Alarmed!!
Another New Testament scripture relating to the idea of not allowing circumstances to trouble us is found in the gospel of John. In John 13-17 Jesus spends perhaps the most intense time of instruction with his disciples. He is with them in the Passover and he then talks with them as they go to the garden we see him praying his final priestly prayer in chapter 17 as he appeals to the Father on behalf of the disciples and also for us who will believe through them. We have already looked at several places in this discussion. It is interesting how frequently in this time Jesus teaches about persecution for His namesake. In John 14:1-4 Jesus begins to introduce a new concept to the disciples about going away and leaving them. He first admonishes them not to be troubled about what he is about to tell them. This word for “troubled” is different than the term used in Matthew 24. This word has to do with not allowing what is about to be said, to disturb your calm or peace. The theme that Jesus introduces to them is the theme of departing. He begins to tell them that he is going away. This is a new concept to them. They have been expecting him to initiate his kingdom, but now he tells them he is going to depart to the Father. How should we react when Jesus does the unexpected? The context here tells us that we should trust and not be afraid. When God does the unexpected it may at first seem confusing. Often our concepts of God are shaken and the Lord seems to violate our most basic understanding of a loving Father. How can He allow trouble and then seem to depart and leave us to deal with the crisis without His help? He has promised that He would never leave us, nor forsake us, and yet at times, it appears that it’s just the opposite. But in our text, we see that Jesus is not leaving them without resources, in fact, He is about to provide the very thing that men of God have needed in order to remain faithful. He is sending the Holy Spirit. In John 16 Jesus declares that it is good for Him to go so that the Holy Spirit can come! God’s plan always brings us the most benefit. Even in the seeming worst defeat, the sacrifice of our very lives, He has provided something better! An eternal perspective will change everything. Do not be troubled, a place is being prepared for you and a mighty comforter is coming!!!
In Habakkuk 2:2-3 God speaks to Habakkuk about being patient and waiting for the fulfillment of the promise. “And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. The vision still awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” There is an appointed time in history and in our lives! God has set that exact and perfect time for our deliverance and His glory. Not only does He not leave us, but He never forsakes us! This promise is found in Hebrews 13:5 and leads us to a powerful statement in verse 6 of the same chapter, “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Our attitude must always be to look to the Lord who is our helper so that we can act with boldness on His behalf.
Finally, let’s look at Psalms 13, “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy says, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD because he has dealt bountifully with me.
David is in a dire place in his life. He has evidently been trusting in the Lord for some time, but the Lord has not brought deliverance and the challenge to the Lord is filled with sarcasm, “Will you forget me forever?”. In verse 2 David talks about taking counsel in his own soul, this speaks of rehearsing over and over possible remedies. He is exhausted from trying to figure out a way to escape his situation, but there is no inspiration. And then David makes a statement very similar to Habakkuk, “Consider and answer me, O LORD my God”. Like Habakkuk, David is challenging the Lord for an answer. He is also challenging the Lord to “light up my eyes”. David is telling the Lord that he is without hope but he is asking God to renew him in hope. He is asking for revelation, the eyes of his understanding to be enlightened. This is a powerful blessing that the Lord provides us to enable us to maintain faithfulness. Paul speaks of this enlightening in Ephesians 1:18. He is praying the eyes of your heart would be enlightened to realize the hope that you have been called to and the wonderful inheritance that Jesus has been given in the saints. Paul goes on to believe for us to understand the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us!!! This is invaluable in our walk with him because it leads away from the spirit that controls this world and toward the One who is life. Let me contrast this enlightening of the eyes of your understanding with the spirit of the world as it is described in Romans 1:18-21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Notice that those who reject God suppress the truth. They refuse to acknowledge what they deep down know to be true. They practice this self-deception and are determined to digress to the point that their foolish hearts are darkened. This is the life that we have escaped and that we are learning to turn from. Ephesians 2:1-5 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved” There was a spirit at work in us before and now His Spirit is at work in us!!! So now we cry out like David, light up my eyes!!!
Finally, David’s heart is turned and like Habakkuk, a realization of God’s ultimate goodness prevails in his heart, and David, the minstrel, the worshiper, the man after God’s own heart begins to praise the Lord. My appeal to us as His people is to be worshippers regardless of the situation because ultimately and eternally, He is worthy!!!
I Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”