When I was a kid a read a book called “The empty chair” by Bess Kaplan. It was a book about a child learning to deal with the death of her mother and the new step mother. The mom’s chair was now empty and for the daughter it still continued to represent her mother. As Christians we need an empty chair to remind us that God exists in our lives. A seat should exist at our table of life that helps us to realize that God is right there with us. Sometimes because of God’s invisible nature we forget that He exists in our lives. We forget that when we accept Jesus in to our heart He goes everywhere with us from then on out. The problem is that we don’t physically see Him so we have a tendency to just go where we want, do what we want and say what we want. If we stopped to analyze what we were doing and saying, we might realize that some of those things Jesus would not approve of. The prophet Isaiah reminded the people of Israel of the same concept in Isaiah 40:27 –
“Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert: “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my claim is ignored by my God”?”
Israel was acting like God couldn’t see what they were doing. In truth God was seeing everything and was disgusted. He gave them multiple prophets and warnings to give them a chance to come around and live godly, but eventually He had to deal with their sin. He had to give them a physical reminder that He was there and that He did care about their lives and actions. He brought the enemy down on them as punishment.
Common sense should tell us that the God we believe in knows and sees everything. We, like Israel, cannot hide our ways from Him. We need to put a seat at our table to remind us physically that God is here and a part of our lives. We need to maybe look at that empty seat in the theatre or that empty chair in the living room or that empty guest chair at our desk as the spot where Jesus sits. Then maybe we would use more common sense and not do things Jesus would not approve of.
So many Christians are going through their daily lives just trying to live good and upright lives and yet many will be attacked by those who don’t believe. They are treated badly, ridiculed, teased, mocked and scoffed at for no real reason sometimes. Other times the actions of a few mis-guided Christians cause the Christians who are on the right track to be bombarded because of their actions, such as in the case of those who were mistaken about the May 21st and soon to be the Oct 21st dates that they promote. We have to learn to accept as followers of God that we will be mis-treated and mis-understood during our lives this life on Earth. If Jesus was mis-understood and mis-treated, we will be too. However, we can put our hope in God during those times. We can learn from His Word that He does take care of those who mis-treat His children. Their time of judgment is coming. Read II Peter 3:3-7.
“3 First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
In Noah’s day there were scoffers that would not listen to Noah’s message that he preached to them warning them of the judgment that was to come to those who would not obey God. He suffered through 120 years of hard physical work building the ark while he emotionally suffered through the mocking and scoffing of those who watched him. In the end he saw God’s judgment come to pass and the mocking ended. He saw his faith rewarded for his persistence and endurance during the mocking times. Joshua and Caleb were others who also had great faith and endured others lack of faith. In Numbers chapters 13 and 14 we read about the people of Israel reaching the edge of the promised land. Moses sends out 12 men to spy out the land and come back give a report. Only Joshua and Caleb give a good report and show faith that God will take them in to the land. As a result the people get to the point where they are even going to stone Joshua and Caleb. They scoffed at them. God suddenly intervenes and the people stop while Moses goes and hears what God says. The end result was that the people would not enter the land. They were judged as despising God and would have to wonder in the wilderness until they died and then their children could go in. Only Joshua and Caleb would be allowed to cross over. They received the promise after enduring the mocking. The others received judgment.
As we see in II Peter, all people will receive their judgment for their mocking and scoffing. God will keep His word to us and see us safely to eternity, despite the mocking we may have to endure. God will punish those who despise Him. So cling to that hope and promise. God’s promises found in His Word will serve as encouragement for those times when you deal with mockers.
Sometimes it is just hard to wait on the Lord to solve a problem. We can be going through some pretty tough times and be at our wit’s end. We may not have any strength left to stand and fight. Our faith may be dwindling. David probably felt the same way at times. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He had been a faithful servant to King Saul, but Saul was jealous and was out to get him. Several times David was within inches of King Saul. Each time he was presented with the opportunity to eliminate his problem. Each time he used wisdom and did not use those opportunities to his advantage. He waited on the Lord. His patience was rewarded on several occasions. Read I Samuel 24: 16-22.
16 When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul wept aloud 17 and said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you. 18 You yourself have told me today what good you did for me: when the LORD handed me over to you, you didn’t kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him go unharmed? May the LORD repay you with good for what you’ve done for me today. 20 “Now I know for certain you will be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 Therefore swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 22 So David swore to Saul. Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went up to the stronghold.
In this passage we see King Saul recognize the error of his ways. He sees he is wrong about David. He recognizes that David will be King next. He seeks David’s protection for his family. Saul stopped pursuing David and his men. What a relief it must have been for David to hear those words and be left in peace. David was no doubt very encouraged by this turn of events. He had remained faithful all this time and God rewarded him. God gave encouragement through King Saul’s words to David. God used that opportunity to remind David that someday he would be King.
The same is true for us. We just need to be patient. No matter how bad things may seem, we need to think about how encouraged we will be when the Lord provides us with answers, solves our problems and protects us.
There is no question that no matter how nice of a person we are in this life, that we will face at some point or another in our life a person we will consider an enemy. They may disagree with us and make their opinion known very loudly to us and others. They may not want to speak to us and may yell at us. They may not want to help us when we need it. They may even do things out of jealousy towards us. David, as we have seen previously, love the Lord and behaved wisely; yet still he had enemies. Read I Samuel 18: 15 and 16 –
“15 Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.”
King Saul saw that David was a mighty man and well loved. He was extremely jealous of him. King Saul sought many times to kill David because of his jealousy. Saul could see that because David behaved so wisely that there was no way to honestly take him out of the picture. As a result, King Saul became afraid of him.
When we behave wisely, we keep our enemies at bay. As a result, like King Saul, our enemies will take steps to do wrong, to be rid of us, their threat. The things they do will in the end be their un-doing. They may be eaten up inside mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They may be taken out by their enemies or even by God’s justice. Bad never leads to good, but good only leads to good spiritually. Behaving wisely only makes common sense. Don’t give your enemies ammunition.