Hearing and Knowing the Voice of the Lord by David Wilkerson
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Psalm 107:6
During the Great Depression in the United States, photographer Dorothea Lange snapped a photo of Florence Owens Thompson and her children. This well-known photograph, Migrant Mother, is the picture of a mother’s despair in the aftermath of the failed pea harvest. Lange took it in Nipomo, California, while working for the Farm Security Administration, hoping to make them aware of the needs of the desperate seasonal farm laborers.
The book of Lamentations presents another snapshot of despair—that of Judah in the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem. Before the army of Nebuchadnezzar swept in to destroy the city, the people had suffered from starvation thanks to a siege (2 Kings 24:10–11). Though their turmoil was the result of years of disobedience to God, the writer of Lamentations cried out to God on behalf of his people (Lamentations 2:11–12).
While the author of Psalm 107 also describes a desperate time in Israel’s history (during Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, vv. 4–5), the focus shifts to an action step to be taken in hard times: “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble” (v. 6). And what a wonderful result: “he delivered them from their distress.”
In despair? Don’t stay silent. Cry out to God. He hears and waits to restore your hope. Though He doesn’t always take us out of hard situations, He promises to be with us always.
When have you experienced God’s help in a stressful time? How will you encourage someone this week who’s facing a crisis?
Heavenly Father, I’m grateful for Your comforting presence.
The Old Testament prophets knew that the coming Messiah would be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). They foresaw the One who would “turn [our] mourning into joy” (Jer. 31:13). Hundreds of years later, these promises were fulfilled—in the life and ministry of Jesus.
THINK ABOUT IT
• On the cross, Jesus echoed Psalm 22. In the midst of your own suffering, have you ever cried out with your own “Why?”
• Notice that Psalm 22 begins with a cry and ends in praise. This is a pattern we see lived out in the story of Job: Despite all his difficulties, he remained hopeful and faithful. What are some steps you can take to find hope in a difficult situation?
“If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD.” (Leviticus 5:15)
The “shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17) in the Old Testament focuses on physical items and places that were considered especially holy and dedicated.
In the New Testament, however, the “holy things” were focused on the eternal and spiritual holiness that was merely “shadowed” by the earlier ceremonies. Our “holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:9) is granted through our “holy faith” (Jude 1:20). God has designed us to become “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
While we serve the Lord on this earth, we are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13), expecting that the Lord will make us “to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.… To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
Jerusalem on Earth, destroyed and rebuilt throughout history, is the prototype of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” wherein “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:2-3). HMM III
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men—bold men….
We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above.
This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation. OGM011-012
Lord, what would it take for me to be that kind of man? Do in me whatever work You need to do today, that I might die to the allurements of the world and serve You with high motives. Amen.
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.
—1 John 1:7
God desires to advance His work among men by frequent outpourings of the Spirit upon His people as they need them and are prepared to receive them….
The Bible…encourages us to expect “showers of blessing” and “floods upon the dry ground.” It was impossible for the outpouring which came at Pentecost to affect persons who were not present or congregations not yet in existence.
The Bible does not sponsor [the] chilling doctrine of once-for-all blessing. It is obvious that the spiritual benefits of Pentecost must be prolonged beyond the lifetimes of the persons who were the first to receive them….
In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. PTP049-051
The Holy Ghost comes with the light of truth in one hand, so to speak, and the blood of Christ in the other. What the light reveals, the blood cleanses. CDL106
Savior, if my feet have faltered
On the pathway of the cross,
If my purposes have altered
Or my gold be mixed with dross,
O forbid me not Thy service,
Keep me yet in Thy employ,
Pass me through a sterner cleansing
If I may but give Thee joy!
All my work is for the Master,
He is all my heart’s desire;
O that He may count me faithful
In the day that tries by fire!
Have I worked for hireling wages,
Or as one with vows to keep,
With a heart whose love engages
Life or death, to save the sheep?
All is known to Thee, my Master,
All is known, and that is why
I can work and wait the verdict
Of Thy kind but searching eye.
I must love Thee, love must rule me,
Springing up and flowing forth
From a childlike heart within me,
Or my work is nothing worth.
Love with passion and with patience,
Love with principle and fire,
Love with heart and mind and utterance,
Serving Christ my one desire.
Albert Orsborn, The Beauty of Jesus