16 April 2001

It has been over a week since the tragic events transpired in New York and Washington. Many questions are before the eyes of America today. Why? Will it happen again? If so, where? What should we do about it? How should we do it? To how many should we do it to? Why did God allow it? Were the people in the towers greater sinners than others? From liberals to conservatives, from country to country, even from the core of America we seem to have conflicting signals to many of these questions. Yet, what we really need to know is what God thinks about it all; what is He saying to us; what is God's perspective? GOD SCREAMS AT US THROUGH PAIN C.S. Lewis wrote something like this, "God whispers to us through prosperity and he screams at us through pain". Though the Old Testament has been labeled by modernists as a book of fables and legends, it was by affliction and pain that God brought His people back to Him. From the great flood to the invasion of the enemies of Israel, God would have a witness on the earth. THE ROD OF MINE ANGER In that Old Testament, we find a mysterious thing: God used a wicked nation, a nation that hated God's chosen people and Jehovah Himself, to afflict and punish His own people, "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets"-Isaiah 10:5-6. God did not move the Assyrians like puppets to afflict His people, He gently removed His wings from over their heads and let the wicked world come in upon them. Something they took for granted was removed: His restraining grace. RESTRAINING GRACE REMOVED The Psalmist said it like this: " Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain"-Psalm 76:10. Many times the wrath of man against God and His Son is so apparent in the eyes of His people that it genuinely turns into praise for the same. When our perspective is right, the remainder, or the overflowing events that would have occurred from their hateful wrath to afflict God's people, is restrained by God. If it were not for God's restraining grace there would be no laws, no property, no peace nor safe havens. It would truly be survival of the fittest: an animalistic world. When God's people turn from Him that restraining grace is removed. Jesus taught it. They, too, missed the point. If you will read Luke 13:1-5 you will find this same lesson before those who opposed Christ, the Messiah the Jew's rejected and many reject today. Pilate had mingled the blood of the Galilaeans with his sacrifices. Another tragedy had occurred: a tower in Siloam fell and killed 18 people. The question they put before Jesus was the exact question we have heard about the trade center, "Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?" Notice the answer put in PERSPECTIVE, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." In other words, the people who died were no better nor worse than you. They are a cross section of your people who reject Me and my authority. Restraining grace is being removed and more will come that will affect you! Perspective, God's perspective is what we must seek. The Lord willing, I will continue next week with "PERSPECTIVE". Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.