What shall we do in the day of adversity?
By Don Ruhl
Reading Scripture and learning from world history, I have been wondering when a depression or depression-like times would strike again! Are we headed in that direction? No one knows for some of the reasons I will reveal.
Beware of watching too much news, because they run a business to make money. Therefore, they will do what they can to get your attention rather than having you watch their competitor’s broadcast. That means they will sensationalize the news, often making things sound worse than they are, or by saying that things will get worse.
I did not say things, such as the economy, are not bad, but the news media operate in a crisis mode and they want you in one also. I want to show you that the media, the government, nor anything else is in control, but you can put your faith in Someone.
What I think is interesting is how people forget past bad times and forget that they made it through those times. In 1981–1982, America had a deep recession with unemployment rates much higher than they are now.
America has experienced other recessions and depressions. We experienced the economic difficulties of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The Stock Market crash of 1987 was the largest ever.
Yet, somehow we are all here today!
It Is Not a Republican, Democrat, or Man Issue
When I was young I remember hearing that another depression could not occur because we had put controls in place, and I believed it.
Then I read the Bible and learned some things. Man may do many things, but One rules who is greater than all. If He wants to create a depression or something far worse, He can do it, regardless of the safeguards we put in place. He can also take the poorest nation on earth and make it the richest.
Genesis 41 shows the dreams of Pharaoh and Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams,
“Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe’” (Gen 41.25–31).
Same Pharaoh. Same government. Same political party. Same policies. Seven years of good times. Seven years of bad times.
It does not matter who we put in the White House or Congress, adverse times shall come and prosperous times shall come.
Never Forget Who Rules
Daniel 4 has King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream when he saw a great tree. The tree provided every good thing. Then a holy one in heaven ordered the tree cut down, but to leave a stump and he would be driven from men until he learned something. Verse 17 explained who did this and why, “This decision is by the decree of the watchers…In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men…” (Dan 4.17).
Daniel revealed that the tree represented King Nebuchadnezzar. He exalted himself as God, but the true God humbled the king, making him live as an animal until he learned who truly rules in the kingdoms of men.
Has America exalted herself to God-status? In some ways, yes. In many ways, no. God loves our nation. Therefore, He humbles us that we might remember that He is God and Jesus is His Messiah who gives us true hope and change. The world needs to see that we are not the messiah.
God Never Allows Ceaseless Prosperity
Let every American learn the wisdom of the magnificent Book of Ecclesiastes. Listen to the wisdom of Solomon in chapter 7 as he addressed good and bad economic times,
Consider the work of God;
For who can make straight what He has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,
So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
(Ecc 7.13, 14)
Now we ought to consider our times. What shall we consider? Consider your relationship with God. Consider your efforts to build His Son’s church, for that surpasses our economy in importance in the mind of God.
God gives good times and God gives bad times, because He does not want us to have faith in the wealth of America, our jobs, our government, or tomorrow. He wants us to believe in Him. Have you committed your way to Him?
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
How have you managed to survive to this day? You have had both days of prosperity and days of adversity. Is today a new situation from which the Lord cannot rescue you?
The Lord’s hand can help us.
Genesis 18 shows Sarah laughing at God’s promise to provide her with a son when she was old. You do not laugh at God. He said to her, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen 18.14).
Numbers 11 records some of the endless complaining of Israel in the wilderness. When the Lord promised to provide what must have amounted to at least 90 million pounds of quail in a month, Moses wondered how the Lord would do it, “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not’” (Num 11.23).
Can the same arm of the Lord help us today? Yes, therefore, let us cultivate a winning spirit when hard times overwhelm us.
Yes, hard times will hit us, but they do not have to destroy us. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2Co 4.7–10). Do you believe that passage? Do you live by it?
Isaiah 59 explains that the Lord’s arm can help us in something that matters more than the economy. The Lord’s people could not understand why He would not help them. Isaiah revealed that the problem did not reside with the Lord.
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.
(Isa 59.1, 2)
Your sin like a wedge separates you from God. However, confession and repentance removes the wedge. If you are not even a Christian, repentance and baptism removes the wedge. Is it that simple? Yes. So, what are you waiting for?