|Volume 23 Number 10 October 2021
“How Long, O Lord?” This prayer occurs eight times in the Scriptures. Obviously, many men of God wanted an answer to this question: How long, O Lord, must I wait, hurt, mourn, see trouble and lack justice until relief comes?
When one considers the plight of Noah, waiting was the burden. He had to wait for God to act to save him from a violent world that threatened his family and him. Then, he had to wait in the ark God had him build. Imagine sweating it out in this huge box filled with wild animals while outside the weather was cutting loose to overwhelm all nature!
Here’s the point: The wait was not forever. He got relief from the evil that surrounded him, and he got relief from the storm and the isolation of the ark. After a year in the great box, a new world opened to him, a gift from God, that he was free to use as he chose (Genesis 7:1-8:22).
We, too, find ourselves waiting in isolation as contagion and death seem to swirl all around us. We may cry out to the Lord, “How long?” Know that God hears; God will take care of you, and He will bring you out of the storm to a safe place once more. Just wait! “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 NKJV).
The New Is Better Than the Old
Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the race of Adam has been failing spectacularly. God took mercy upon mankind and spared Noah and his family, but, even then, the human race let Him down. Later, He gave men the Law of Moses, but they couldn’t keep even the Ten Commandments without messing up. Israel tried obeying the law, but their sacrifices for sin were corrupted by priests and judged partial. They loved their prophets to be positive, and the kings were hopeless. The history of humanity is one of inhumanity and failure.
The Holy Bible tells us of the catastrophe that we humans have made of things. What must God think of the world that we corrupted? What is the Holy Spirit telling us throughout the pages of the Old Testament? Human beings could not keep the Law and broke it over and over! We created idols to justify infanticide and sin, and nothing’s changed in the last 4,000 years!
All of our sacrifices were insufficient for salvation; they only covered but did not blot out sin. The priests that we trusted were corrupt, such as the sons of Eli. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:12 KJV). Samuel also addressed the religious leaders of Christ’s days on earth when He spoke of these self-righteous men. “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). John the baptizer addressed the same in Luke 3:7.
Just look at the checkered history of the judges of ancient Israel. Samson had a tryst with Delilah and that sin brought his ruin. True, his sacrifice literally brought down the pagans in their temple, but that sacrifice did not have the power to save the people forever.
Then the people decided they wanted to have kings just like other nations (apparently God wasn’t good enough to be their King)! God relented, but even then, the people were not pleased! The first king, Saul, brought the nation to ruin through his pride. Then, God chose David, the great warrior-poet of Israel, who led Israel to victory. Yet, even David was subject to sinful desires, and in 2 Samuel, we read about the tragic events that unfolded. The kings that reigned after David in the south were also a mixed bunch of good and bad; those in the north were idolatrous, hopeless and, therefore, terrible shepherds. When God sent His prophets to the people, they turned on them and murdered them; false prophets, however, were loved because they told the people what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear. In 1 Kings 22:8, Israel’s monarch said, “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” In His mercy, our blessed Lord said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not” (Matthew 23:37).
In every way, Christ is superior to all men. The Word tells us that the new brings better than the old! In Christ, we have a new, superior law and an incorruptible High Priest, an eternal King Who will not waiver in His duty or ability! He is our Sovereign, not our servant! The covenant, in its timeless power, is on His terms, not ours. Hebrews 9:16-17 tells us how and when the New Covenant – the New Testament of God – came into effect. Men died for their kings, gods and treasures throughout the ages, but our God and King died for us! We are the sinners in need of His salvation (Romans 3; 6:23). He is incorruptible and victorious (Jude 1:6)!
Yes, the New Covenant is altogether better than the Old Covenant. Paul told about the events in the Old Testament in 1 Corinthians 10:12, which reads, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” In reading these examples, we can clearly see man’s failure and his folly of trying to make things right with God in his own way. Cain offered what he willed, not what was required. Men doubting God led to the demand of an earthly king. God wasn’t good enough for sinful men! In Jesus Christ, we have the fulfilment of God’s promise. The people wanted a man who was king instead of God, and this resulted in disaster. Yet, God had His answer to men’s stubborn nature; He was going to come into human history and take His rightful place as the King of humanity. Christ’s land is not just Israel but the whole earth. In that sense, everywhere on this planet is the holy land, for it is God’s land! God – in the Person of Jesus Christ – is the Priest (Hebrews 9:12), Prophet (Matthew 21:11) and King (John 18:36)!
He is the Mediator, our Judge and our Sacrifice. He is the very spotless, sinless and pure Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world! Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:1). We obey because we love Him and consider it an honor to serve Him.