Few ordeals are more excruciating than suffering defeat while serving God. When God’s work suffers humiliating setbacks, His people agonize over their losses and long for God to reestablish His work. I’ve been involved in ministry for 50 years and I can tell you from experience, there are seasons in God’s work. There are times of refreshing and there are drought. There are times when we plant without seeing any visible results and there are times when we harvest unexpectedly. Psalm 74 was written by a descendant of Asap and it is the poet’s reaction to the crushing defeat that Israel suffered from the Babylonians. The Babylonians were like beast, they were like our dog, they had no sense of what is sacred. June let him stay in the garage night before last due to the storms and he destroyed the place. The idiot chewed the wiring to our garage door in two and chewed up the sensor. He also destroyed every thing else that he could get to. Big Mama gave him a tongue lashing yesterday morning, “I tried to be good to you and this is how you repay me. From now on big boy, you will be out in the storm.” What can I do, she is the one who cares for this animal, the dumb dog did it to himself. But he is a beast, he is a dog and a dog has no sense of value. A dog does not know the difference between sacred and secular. They don’t know the difference between a bible and a news paper, they will destroy both.
Why does God allow the beast to run the planet; this was the issue troubling the Psalmist. These secular hedonist have no sense of value. They mock the church and insult God’s servants. They have no love for the word of God and absolutely no concern for the work of God. Like reckless beast, they destroy and pillage. What we have to remember is: there are some things they cannot destroy. They destroyed Yahweh’s Temple, the Jewish temple made of stone, but they could not destroy the real Temple. They tried but He arose from the dead. They destroyed the places of worship but they could not destroy the Person of worship, neither could they destroy the truth.
There is one thing that I want to share from my study of this Psalm. The Jews brought this on themselves and yet they are blaming God for being inactive. God sent them the prophet Jeremiah and he told them exactly what would happen if they did not repent and they ignored his message. Actually, they persecuted him. The Psalmist sees the Babylonians as beast and the Jews as doves but this is not an accurate picture. The Jews were not innocent doves. Did they act like doves in regards to Jesus or did they act like beast? The Jews could see the sin and depravity of the Babylonians but they couldn’t see their own sin. This constitutes a major problem. God allowed them to suffer defeat in order to teach them, to sanctify them. He does the same with us. Defeat gets our attention. It got Joshua’s attention. They lost a battle they should not have lost but God allowed it to show them their sin. Your sanctification is more important to God than your success. A divorce doesn’t mean that you are finished. Getting fired from your job doesn’t mean that you are finished. Getting swindled by a con-artist doesn’t mean that you are finished. Defeat gets our attention on Jesus which is where it should have been all along. Defeat gets us on our knees. In Joshua’s case, it got him on his face. He didn’t put his knees on the ground, he put his face on the ground. Where do you think God wants us: glorying in victory like the Babylonian or on our faces before Him like Joshua? All victory and no defeat would leave us proud and arrogant which is the exact opposite of what God desires.
- Got a call yesterday from one of the major contractors in North Alabama. He asked me if I knew that two great Patriots were born on August 8th. First I thought of Ethan Allen and then Washington but I didn’t really know the answer. After a pause he said, “Bill Wood and Jack Bailey.” If you can figure out who the contractor was, I will give you a copy of my new book, HUMILITY AND HOW I ATTAINED IT.
- I get a lot of crazy phone calls: I got one from Washington D.C. yesterday telling me it was my last warning to repay a student loan. I never got a student loan. I have gotten two calls in the last 6 months from people pretending to be the IRS. One told me that a warrant was out for my arrest. I don’t think either are legit so be aware, there are con-artist out there trying to make a buck at our expense.
- I turned 68 yesterday morning at 7:00 am. I know this because my mother told me, more than once, the time of my birth. She also said that I was the easiest birth she had and she had eight. It was from birth to age 15 that I gave her problems. In those years, she literally beat the hell out me and I am thankful. I know it is hard for your to grasp, but I was a very strong willed child. I am convinced that God used my mother to keep me out of prison or worse. I can tell you one thing: it is all grace, God’s grace. Thank You Jesus for good parents, a rare commodity these days.
- I know those who read the blog are busy people but if you get a chance, check this out…I posted it once but it is so good, I wanted to prod you one more time.