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July 25, 2019, 9:00 AM

Why Do You Hate Me!? part 1


 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time for everything in life. Like seasons of the year, seasons of life come and go. If only we could have some sort of schedule for the seasons of life like we do for the seasons of the year, it may be a little easier to endure the difficult times. There are seasons when I feel like I’m standing on the mountain top with Jesus, Moses, Elijah, and the disciples. Then, there are seasons when I feel like David running for his life. Maybe the most frustrating seasons are the days of despair that follow a tremendous time of victory. Elijah after the victory on Mt. Carmel, as he flees and hides, is where I often find myself. Typically, when I when I'm in the seasons of struggle and difficulties, I become distracted by those around me that I know don’t follow God or who are living a life of sin that seem to be doing great. They are the ones that win the lotto or get an inheritance from some long lost uncle. Everyone thinks they’re such wonderful people and it feels like everyone is attacking my family for trying to live as followers of Christ. David is credited for authoring Psalm 37. David is a man that could understand my frustrations and coming to the point of wanting to look up to heaven and ask God, “Why do you hate me?!”

Now, I know God doesn’t hate me, in fact, He loved me so much that even while I was still lost in sin, He saved my soul. So, if God doesn’t hate you or me then why do difficult times seem to always wait for us around every turn? The answer is actually quite simple. The writer of Hebrews explains the meaning behind some of the struggles of life for a Christian. Hebrews 12:4-11 gives tremendous insight as to why things happen, how to receive discipline from God, and the encouragement that is to be gained from being disciplined by God.

First, the writer reminds his audience of believers that it is not as bad as it could be and would soon become. The young church had not yet suffered to the point of martyrdom to the extent that soon awaited. There had endured some persecution, 10:32-34, but there were darker days still to come. In every season of persecution and trials, we go through it is important to remember that it could always be worse. That is not to say that the current level of difficulty is to be downplayed or made light of, but it could always be much worse. When we are persecuted for following Christ and ostracized for our faith, let us be reminded of the great cloud of witnesses that we stand in the company of. Also, as Paul says in Philippians 3:10-11, he desires to experience the power of the resurrection of Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings. When we endure persecution, no matter how light or severe, we are partaking in fellowship with Jesus. That should provide a little sense of encouragement to the one enduring a difficult season.

Secondly, and working from the first point, when times of hardship come into our lives, we often fret and become distracted and discouraged because we have forgotten or never learned the promises God has made to us in His word. The author tells the church that they had forgotten the word of encouragement that called them sons. Please allow me to be a little blunt for just a moment. Too many people call themselves Christians and have no idea what the Scriptures say about being a Christian. They don’t read the Word unless it’s to use it for their own benefit and never dig into the deeper truths of the promises of God. The people being addressed in Hebrews would have been well versed in the Old Testament teachings and Laws and promises of God. For that reason, the charge against them that they had forgotten the words of encouragement is more severe.

The Greek word, eklanthanomai, which is translated “forget” loses some of its power in the common English vernacular. This is the only place in Scripture this Greek word is used. We probably think that it’s like, “Oops, I forgot what Psalm 94 says. No big deal.” It was a much more severe charge than simply forgetting to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home. They were being accused of willful neglect of remembering the promises of God. It may be easy to heap judgment upon those believers and declare that you and I would never be found guilty of such atrocities. Before we get too far down the path of self piety, let us come down off of our high horse. Life doesn’t slow down for anyone and it’s easy to allow the busyness of life to creep in and push prayer and regular Bible study out of our schedules. Many people even justify the absence of such things by blaming their kids. As a parent, you can tell your child you’re not going to stay at the ballpark all weekend and skip church so they can chase the American Dream of fame and fortune through sports. Remember, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world, but lose their soul? It is much easier than we realize to willfully neglect the ways and words of God than some may think. In my life it is often something I don’t realize has happened until the Lord gets my attention and causes me to re-focus on Him. So, the author is accusing his audience of willfully becoming oblivious to the word of encouragement by neglecting the study and practice of it in their daily lives over a period of time. As has been said by some, “Them there are fightin’ words.” However, if the following verses, he gently reminds them of the truth of the promises of God and the blessings of being disciplined.


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