[forthright] Endangered

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 04:52:24 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:
http://forthrightpress.com/#InSearchOfPerfection


COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

Endangered
 by Michael E. Brooks

   "And he said, 'I have been very zealous for
   the Lord God of hosts; because the children
   of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn
   down your altars, and killed your prophets
   with the sword. I alone am left; and they
   seek to take my life'" (1 Kings 19:14 NKJV).

A group of us were traveling upriver in Bangladesh by
boat from the city of Pirajpur to visit various
villages and points of interest. We were thrilled when,
soon after our launching, we were joined by a pod of
river dolphins who swam along beside the boat,
frequently rolling on the surface and even leaping out
of the water in a display of power and grace.

Our pleasure in this display was enhanced by our
knowledge that the Gangetic river dolphins (along with
all other freshwater dolphins) are rare and are
classified as either threatened or endangered by
governments and environmental agencies.

Pollution, net fishing, the abundance of engine driven
boats (with sharp propellers) in their habitat, and
other factors has reduced populations to a few thousand
or in some species mere hundreds. We were blessed to
see something which most of the world's population may
not even know exists, and which may not exist much
longer if steps are not taken soon.

Elijah the prophet was a member of an endangered
species. He had already resigned himself to the fact
that he would soon die, and with him, all hopes that
Israel would be a nation which served the Lord God. He
was discouraged and defeated, confused as to how God
Almighty could allow his people to reject him totally.
Unless steps were taken soon, all hope would be lost.

Yet steps were being taken. Elijah's survival, and that
of the faithful in Israel, did not depend upon human
government or agency. God himself was supervising their
fate. He had resources of which even the prophet was
unaware. "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel,
all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth
that has not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18).

Elijah did not have a complete count of the faithful.
He was not aware of the seven thousand faithful
worshipers of God remaining in Israel.

So also when modern Christians despair at the prevalent
immorality of our cultures, and when it seems that the
wicked prosper while the righteous perish, we may not
know the true state of affairs. But these things we can
know by faith, and that knowledge will encourage us to
continue to serve our God.

First, we know that God is still in charge. Jesus
promised "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words
will by no means pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Of his
kingdom it is said that "[It] cannot be shaken"
(Hebrews 12:28).

Though the earth and all that is in it will someday be
destroyed, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth in which
righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13).

Secondly, we know that righteousness abides. Paul
affirms that salvation has been received by many
through faith in Jesus. "But I say, have they not
heard? Yes indeed: 'Their sound has gone out to all the
earth, and their words to the ends of the world'"
(Romans 10:18).

Again we are taught, "For the grace of God that brings
salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that,
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age"
(Titus 2:11-12).

We may not always see or know of the many who have
obeyed such teaching and who are living righteously
before God. But we are assured that they exist.

Finally we know that Jesus will come again. "For yet a
little while, and he who is coming will come and will
not tarry" ( Hebrews 10:37). "The Lord is not slack
concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is
longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should
perish but that all should come to repentance. But the
day of the Lord will come . . . (2 Peter 3:9-10).

God preserves his people unto his own purpose. We can
have confidence before him in every situation, knowing
that he loves us and that his power will prevail. We
may be threatened, but the people of God are never
endangered, so long as they trust in him. "If God is
for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

----
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