Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a high priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (boldness), so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrew 4:14-16)
Author Dave Brannon urges us to use the Psalms to help us pray more earnestly. The Psalms are breathed out by the Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and given to King David, Moses, and the other writers to use in approaching God. The Psalms are acceptable prayers to the Lord, acceptable ways of asking, seeking, and knocking on Heaven’s door, and put in the Bible as a pattern for us to use in the 21st century. Brannon pointed out that King David was not afraid to be completely open and honest with the Lord. Here are some samples from the Psalms:
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?1
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?…Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand. Do not forget the helpless.2
To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially but harbor malice in their hearts.3
Psalms like these show that it’s good and right to pour out our hearts to the Lord about everything that troubles us. That’s what He wants and commands. This cultivates close fellowship with God, being honest with Him and expressing our feelings to Him. Other people will grow weary of us venting all our troubles and even avoid us because of our complaining. But our Heavenly Father never gets tired of us pestering Him. Scripture says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:18)
This reminds me of a story from the book, The God Who Hung On The Cross.4 It’s an amazing grace story how Jesus’ salvation came to a remote village in Cambodia. In 1999, Pastor Seng (not his real name) traveled to an isolated area where most people trusted in Buddhism, demonism, or veneration of the dead. Christianity was almost unheard of.
When Seng came to one small town, the people warmly welcomed him. He was shocked by their desire to learn all about Christ. Seng asked about their eagerness and an old woman (call her Chan) shuffled forward. Chan bowed and said, “We’ve been waiting for you 20 years.” She told about how the God she loved, the One who hung on the cross, but is now risen, had already saved her and her people wondrously.
From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge (the brutal, Communist regime) ravaged Cambodia and killed two million people. When soldiers attacked Chan’s little village, they rounded up everyone and forced people to dig their own graves. When villagers finished digging, they all prepared to be slaughtered. Some screamed to Buddha; others prayed to demon spirits or to their departed ancestors.
Drawing on a childhood memory, Chan begged for help from the God who had once hung on the cross, but is now risen, living, and active as the conquering King. Her mother told her about Jesus, even though Chan didn’t remember His name. She prayed to this crucified but resurrected Lord, reasoning that if He had experienced sorrow and sadness Himself, He could and would have compassion on them now and help them in this most hopeless time.
Soon Chan’s neighbors joined in her prayers. They begged the Lord to save them. They called, and called, and called on the Lord. Everyone stared into their freshly dug graves, but they felt an unusual silence fill the muggy jungle air. Slowly, they turned around to face their executioners and saw that the soldiers had vanished! Christ the Risen Lord scattered their enemies, as He often did in Bible times and has continued to do over the past 2,000 years.
The Book of Revelation describes Jesus as the Lamb who had been slain, now raised from the dead and standing in the center of God’s throne.5 He is also called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who has all power, wealth, wisdom, and strength in Himself. So Jesus deserves all honor and glory and praise!6 Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords7 and He will reign for ever and ever.8 Jesus must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.9 Hallelujah!
Chan and her friends were calling on Christ even though they didn’t know His name. Praise God, Jesus is still doing rescue missions all around the globe! He is not on the cross anymore, not in the grave any more. Christ is alive and still rescuing desperate people! Jesus is able to do super-abundantly, beyond our greatest hopes or dreams,10 so let’s not fail to pray boldly.
Chan said that for 20 years villagers had been waiting, longing for someone to come tell them the whole story of their loving, mighty Savior who had once hung on the cross but is now alive and reigning.
Dear reader: Do you know Jesus’ whole story? Do you praise, thank, and rejoice in Him? Do you call on Him for help with everyday things and extraordinary issues? Do you approach God with faith in Christ, like Chan and her friends did? Like David and the other Psalmists did? Do you tell others about Christ?
Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (boldness), so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To be continued
Notes (various translations used): 1 Psalm 6:1-3. 2 Psalm 10:1-12. 3 Psalm 28:1-3. 4 by Dois I. Rosser and Ellen Santilli Vaughn. 5 Rev 5:6. 6 Rev 5:12. 7 Rev 19:16. 8 Rev 11:15. 9 1 Cor 15:25. 10 Eph 3:20.
Note: Story from Cambodia was used in an earlier post. You can read it here: Joy in Jesus: The God Who Hung on the Cross 2017/12/01