Awaiting His Rescue
“Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.”
Adam and Eve were sent outside the garden because they disobeyed God’s commands, but God didn’t leave them on their own. Through Abraham, the creator initiated and affirmed a covenant with the Jewish people. Through Moses, he rescued Israel from slavery and fed them with manna and quail. As Psalm 80 testifies, he shepherded his children through eras of evil kings, aggressive enemies, and their own sinfulness.
In the ancestry of Christ, we see figures such as Rahab, a prostitute; Ruth, a penniless widow; and—though she is not named—Bathsheba, whom David took as his wife after committing adultery with her (and murdering her husband). Jesus was born outside an inn and worshiped by shepherds, who were outside the mainstream of society. He called fishermen, a political activist, and a tax collector to be his closest followers. He spent time with women, Gentiles, Samaritans, and sinners. He died an outsider, and his last act before he died on the cross was pardoning a condemned man.
Now, we are the condemned in need of mercy. Not only are we dependent on Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, but we also need him to grant us supernatural peace and courage in these dark days.
Some elements of society are becoming increasingly hostile to Christian values. In the United States, we face ridicule, censure, and hostility, while our brothers and sisters in other countries stare down the barrels of guns and knives. Although people of faith have always been persecuted, by some accounts the 20th century saw more believers being martyred than in all previous centuries combined.
However, God calls us to not be afraid, to persevere in perilous times, and to wait with patience until we are reunited with our Savior. Only through the gift of his Son can we obey such commands.
As we pray for those who are facing martyrdom, we echo the Psalmist, who cries, “Stir up your might, and come to save us … You have fed us with the bread of tears … you make us the scorn of our neighbors. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
Thankfully, one day, he will wipe our tears away with his gentle hands. Then, we will be inside his kingdom—secure forever.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
Have you ever felt like an outsider? How does the truth of Jesus pursuing those outside the mainstream—even becoming one of them—comfort you? Do you have someone in your life who’s an outsider to whom you could send a note of encouragement?
Heavenly Father, I love your heart for the outcast. Thank you for coming to rescue us from a life of sin and sacrificing your only son so that I could come inside your kingdom. As I face opposition, ridicule, and spiritual warfare, Lord, impart your peace to my heart and give me courage and boldness. Let your face shine on me, and help me to shine your light to others who feel lonely and isolated. Amen.
READ THE PASSAGE IN CONTEXT:
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.