What’s going on? The riots, the protests, the looting and stealing and burning in cities across our nation? Murder is never justified—not this poor man’s or anyone else’s—and peaceful protest has been used to accomplish great things, but what happened these last several days has devolved into something foreign to the peaceful heart of movements such as that of Ghandi in India or Dr. Martin Luther King in our own country.
“The Lord aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites.” (2 Chronicles 21:16 NIV)
Why is this happening? While I don’t have all the answers, I would like to suggest that there are times when God arouses certain groups for the purpose of judgment. In addition to today’s verse, these are other documentations of God stirring up adversaries against His people when they stopped paying attention to Him:
“And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada…” (1 Kings 11:23 NIV)
“Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.” (1 Kings 11:14 NIV)
“So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile…” (1 Chronicles 5:26 NIV)
Is that what’s happening today? Are we being judged? I don’t know, I certainly hope not; but it seems to be one thing right on the heels of another; the headlines of coronavirus deaths had not even abated when reports of violent protests against the murder of George Floyd obscured them.
We like to see God as loving, forgiving, kind, merciful—and He is. But we must not forget that He is also holy, just and wrathful against all sin and disobedience against Him—and there is so much guilt in our nation and world today. Must I articulate it? From the greatest to those we would consider least, it is fair to say at this point we should put on figurative ashes and sack cloth the ancients did, in genuine and heartfelt repentance and grief for our collective guilt.
God’s people are not responsible for everything that goes on in the world or for the sins of others, but we are responsible for not being salt and light when we should have been. We understand light, but may miss the significance of being salt in a wicked world—yet salt is a preservative; Christ’s Spirit working in and through us keeps things from decaying completely in a world overwhelmed by sin!
Let’s never forget that Jesus said:
“…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23, 25-26 NIV)
Let’s never be ashamed of Jesus Christ, God’s holy Son our Savior, and His words; let’s not fail to be the preservative He intends us to be in this terrible, sin-filled world; let’s pray to God with great repentance that He quiet the spirit of unrest and hostility within our nation today and preserve us!
Shine Your Spirit’s love through us on our nation and our world today and always; withhold Your judgment from us. Give us a spirit of great repentance; remove the spirit of hostility and unrest from us! In Jesus’ name we ask, amen.