By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Psalms 128-130
Key Scripture Verses: Psalm 129: 1-2 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“’They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,’ let Israel say; ‘they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me.’”
The author of Psalm 129 is unknown, although some have suggested that Hezekiah may have written it. Its essential theme is that of verse 4 which says, “But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” The psalmist says that no matter what is done to Israel, no one can destroy it, because God has determined already that it won’t be destroyed–the faithful will enjoy the rewards of their obedience to him.
From the beginning Israel has long been under attack and it is expected that that will always be the case. Christians are also being attacked and persecuted throughout the world. Some believe that Christianity is dying.
If we look at church attendance and who is attending church today, we might start to believe that the Christian church is dying. Fewer and fewer young people attend church and fewer insist that their children go to church, even if they go to church themselves. And the demographics of our churches reflect an aging population. Individual churches may disintegrate under these circumstances; however, the church will not die. God has made it clear that the faithful may be few and the road may be narrow to heaven’s gates, but it will never be abolished or destroyed in its entirety.
So, Israel can boast, “they have not gained the victory over me.” Wickedness and evil will not prevail. God has made provision for the remnant of Israel and those who have followed Jesus who was the victor over death when he died on the cross and was resurrected. Because of his grace, Christian believers everywhere can be confident that regardless of what happens in their earthly lives and regardless of any persecution and even death that would come to them, their reward remains in heaven.
No one can take the inheritance that Jesus has given us away from us. We Christians may suffer for our faith, we may be persecuted for our beliefs, we may even lose our human lives at the hands of those who would destroy us, but they cannot take our eternity with the living God from us. Jesus has already won that battle. We can be sure of it!