Our Hope for the Future
As one year ends and another begins it is good to take stock. A m a n who has a business must do this literally: he needs to know what resources he has left and whether they are sufficient to enable him to continue trading and make a living in the days ahead. If they are not then he may be forced to wind up his business – something which happens frequently when the economy is in recession as it is now.
We find ourselves as a nation going through a period of spiritual recession too. We are all aware of the symptoms: the rejection of our Christian heritage, dwindling congregations, few people being converted and individual believers struggling to maintain their course in an ungodly society. Is there any hope for Christ’s cause in our land? Certainly there is, when we take stock as we should. We find to our encouragement that there are limitless resources available to us.
Firstly we must be clear where our resources do not lie. They are not to be found in ourselves. This is the mistake we are always making. We trust in our gifts and abilities and believe that by our zealous effort we can turn things around. We do this even as we pray that the Lord would come to our aid!
Pride has ever been the enemy of man and of the church. Ezekiel Chapter 16 contains a great lesson. There the Jewish nation and church of the Old Testament is represented by a female child, whose humble origin and growth to adulthood illustrates how the Lord loved Israel, “the fewest of all people” (Deut.6:7) and brought them up to greatness. He preserved them in Egypt, covenanted with them at Sinai, led them through the wilderness and gave them the land of Canaan. There they enjoyed prosperity and fame among the surrounding heathen nations.
Yet tragically things went wrong. The Jews committed idolatry, turning even the good things God had given them to wrong uses. The Lord threatened judgment upon them for their covenant-breaking but promised mercy to the remnant who would turn from their wickedness.
This is a reminder that the only solution to sin is repentance and a renewing of our covenant with God, whether on the part of individuals, churches or nations. We long to see it in our day. God is able to bring it about, if it please Him, and we pray that He will.
Our real resources are to be found in God alone. Our great hope for the future is God’s everlasting covenant, established with Christ and in Him with all His spiritual seed. This covenant is “ordered in all things and sure” (2Sam.23:5), for it is maintained by God Himself. It is all our salvation and should be all our desire. God’s covenant cannot fail, neither can the church which is embraced by it be overcome.
The Lord says to His backsliding church in every age: “I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God” (Ezek.16:62-63). What grace God shows to His unworthy people, even when they have departed from His ways! Let us truly humble ourselves and pray to God for His help.