Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Yokes!"

Nahum 1.12-13 NAS

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Though they are at full strength and likewise many, even so, they will be cut off and pass away.

Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, and I will tear off your shackles.’”

God uses His enemies to shape the character of those He loves. The book of Nahum is an oracle against Assyria’s capital city Nineveh. The prophecy was first delivered on the threshold of the fall of Assyria’s great empire around 600 B.C. Nahum acknowledged God’s hand in both the affliction suffered by his beloved Judah and her vindication at Assyria’s destruction. According to the prophet, God was behind both the affliction and the comfort He sent Judah’s way. He used Assyria to execute wrath upon His people when they were apathetic and too comfortable. But things would change…

“Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. So now, I will
break [Assyria’s] yoke bar from upon you, and I will tear off your shackles.”

God uses the empires, people, and circumstances to comfort and afflict those He loves. I must never make the pursuit of comfort my primary objective. The comfort I create for myself is an illusion that disappears before I fully enjoy it. It never satisfies the way I imagine it will. When I chase and apprehend the comfort I long for, I am disappointed. It leaves me feeling cold and unfulfilled. The pursuit of comfort is an idol, a false god. 

The greatest and final enemy is death. Death stole my best friend and wife just 3 1/2 months ago. This will be my first Christmas in 21 years without Adonica. My comfort vanished and my affliction began at 12:14 p.m. Sunday, August 30th. I have not stopped crying since then. 

Yet, God is a “God of all comfort, who comforts us in our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2nd Corinthians 1.4). Godly comfort is not for my benefit alone. It is bestowed so that it may be offered. It presupposes a familiarity with suffering. My pain of loss and grief has a purpose. Godly comfort can only be appreciated by those who have been hurt. I am afflicted so that I might learn to place value on the comfort I receive and then give it to others who need it. I am not the only one who loved and lost love. 

I cannot seek and find seeking my own comfort in this dark night of the soul. It would be far wiser to voluntarily wear the “yoke bar” of Christ’s affliction. He alone can give me the comfort I need.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus, Matthew 11.28-30 NKJV

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