But no matter how stiff our upper lip appears to be, the terrorists have done their work. And when you consider that the same attacks can be carried out anywhere at any time... and likely will be, hopelessness can easily set in. We all stand with the victims, partly because we realize we are all victims.
In the middle of this, the Church appears to be losing steam. Many are leaving Christianity, becoming those with no religion, or even joining other religions... including the historically bloody Islam. Darkness certainly seems to be winning.
But no matter how dark the night, it is always a prelude to the dawn. God is not done. God did not create the Church in order to abandon the Church. The Church is strong. While the size of the flame is diminishing as people leave for other things, the intensity of the Gospel is as strong as it was Resurrection Morning. We have hope... not only that God is faithfully watching events unfold, but that He is bringing all things to their proper end.
Here is what the Psalmist wrote...
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth. (Psalm 96 - New King James Version)
Do you see how this psalm gives worship to God, and at the same time a warning to other gods and those who follow them? We see at least five things about God in this passage. We must remember these things in the middle of the night.
There is one true God. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of the Bible. He is the God of Christianity. There are other so-called gods, but He is over them.
He is over everything. God is over nature because He created it. He is over man because He created us. He is over events because He inhabits and rules over eternity.
He will save. We have lost our way. But there is salvation in God because He has made a way for us to be restored to the place He intended. He has done everything necessary to offer redemption and transformation.
He is to be worshiped. Because of all that we know about God, we should worship Him. He is the only God. He is over everything. He offers us salvation. Why wouldn't we praise Him? Regardless of our circumstances, these truths can anchor us to the reality that God deserves our greatest attention, adoration, and appreciation.
He will judge.The night will not win. It will not last forever. It will not even slink off quietly. The darkness will be judged by the God who is true, over everything, offers salvation, and will ultimately be recognized as worthy of worship for everyone. For some, this will mean eternal separation from God, while for others it will mean the eternal presence of God.
Today, glory in the truth of this psalm. Notice that the worship does not come after the realization that God will judge. The judgment comes after everyone has had the opportunity to see and experience the wonderful nature of God. Judgment will come with the morning. Endure the night in the protection of God, and see His glory manifested throughout the world.