Afflictions are a part of human life. There are many forms of afflictions effecting people in their daily lives. They come in ways that one does not expect. Therefore, when afflictions or sufferings arise in a nation, society or a person, they quickly receive sympathy. It is a natural response from human beings to be sympathetic of those suffering. This is a good sign of humanity, particularly a credit to the workmanship of God in man. It is not good to judge or justify the suffering of a person, unless there is a strong reason for it. The case of Job is an excellent example. He was wrongly judged by his friends when afflicted and they had to be redeemed of their sin through offerings and prayer of Job. Then again, the afflicted or the suffering does not justify sympathy when afflictions come forth from their evil. In other words, though we may feel sympathetic toward those suffering it would be meaningless in the context of righteousness. For the Lord God Himself asserts, “Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions” (Isa. 10:1).
When God promised Israel the Promised Land and brought them out of Egypt, He led them in such a way that they destroyed everything that came in their path. God empowered them with uncompromising strength and their enemies were brought to dust. They destroyed everything including women, children and cattle. Their enemies were severely afflicted, but not without a proper reason. When those nations became a law to themselves, i.e. by not having the Law of God, they did whatever was pleasing to their eyes. This brought forth certain evil that was displeasing to God. The first of their evil was they did not know the true living God. When they worshipped that which was not God, they also brought forth principles (doctrines) that were not the truth. They committed clear evil under the sun, because of the evil statutes enacted.
Similarly, God too did not spare Israel when they confirmed their hearts to the works of the nations after having received the knowledge of God through the Law of Moses. Hence, the same enemies that they once destroyed began heavily afflicting them. They were destroyed and plundered, yet not without a proper reason. Israel enacted evil statutes that made the children of God sin against God. They began to make unjust decisions toward the righteous, the poor, the widows and the orphans. They were entangled in all forms of immorality while calling themselves the chosen of God. They loved the doctrines that did not conform to the Law, because they gave them the kind of freedom that allowed them to do whatever was pleasing to their eyes. They turned good to evil and bitter to sweet. For this reason, God earlier commanded them to spare none of their enemies including their livestock. For God knew that a little of the nations lawlessness will corrupt the whole of Jacob. But, they did not always obey the Lord and brought evil upon themselves, since that which was spared by them later became a cause for their affliction. They raised false prophets and priests, and killed and persecuted the ones sent by God. Women too equally made their presence felt and God judged them, saying, “Because you disheartened the righteous with falsehood when I did not cause him grief, but have encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way and preserve his life” (Ezek. 13:22). So, it had become that there were none present obeying the God, who gave them the land of milk and honey, and were afflicted. It was a time of shame than a time for sympathy, since their affliction or suffering came forth due to their evil.
It should not be a surprise that women too can do such things that provoke the wrath of God. Why do men and women equally sin against God? It is because they both equally look to the world and things in it rather than to God. Hence, falsehood enters them effortlessly. When they desire something, they make a statute for themselves, i.e. they become a law to themselves by not having the law of Christ. Thus, like men women too dishearten the righteous and turn the right into the wrong. When God is our mirror for perfection, the things that we need and desire come to us from God in a purified form. Therefore, both men and women belonging to God should first mold their form to that which God desires. What is it that God desires from His people? In the words of Jesus, it is purity. “But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’” (Luke 18:16). What is it that the children of God should first desire? Is it not His kingdom? Did not Christ teach that one must first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then comes the rest? Yet, the present day church has failed in its desire. Rather seeking the Kingdom first they are seeking the things of the world in the name of seeking the Kingdom. O, what a shame! If afflictions or sufferings now prevail upon them, should it be a time of sympathy? In this case, it is not prudent to even blame Satan. He was already found guilty, but when you after having the knowledge of Christ shun seeking the kingdom of God, the suffering that comes upon you is yours to blame. Judge for yourselves and see where your desire lies. A Christian must learn from the things written in earlier times.
If your desire lies in His kingdom, then you have received and will continue to receive from Him. You will know this by the evil statutes (doctrines) you have not made. You will know by the just decisions you are able to make; for His kingdom is full of truth and His righteousness is pure. Now, the afflictions or sufferings that fall upon you are not by your wickedness, but because of those who are wicked toward you and your Christ in whom you believe. Such afflictions will always end in victory, though they seem otherwise to those who cannot believe. Their unbelief too will add to your affliction. However, God will remove their unbelief when the righteousness of Christ is made known through you. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14). Those who in weakness did not believe will in the end be able to rejoice with you, but the rest will fade away.
This is the triumph that God is willing to lead you to, unless your desire for Him has shriveled. This triumph can only be in Christ. When you first come to this Christ He will remove your lawless nature, (by which you became a law to yourself), and the doctrines that are instigated and propagated by men in the name of the church. Now, the path for your triumph has been laid. You have become like the children to whom the kingdom of God belongs. No man or demon will have the power to hinder you, though they may seek to cause hindrance. For this reason, the Holy Spirit says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The power to overcome those who hinder your progress in God’s kingdom lies in asking God for His immaculate wisdom. This wisdom can be achieved only from your inner room; by daily spending good time with God in prayer and searching the word. Because of this, those who cause suffering and hinder you can never be able to hold you back. When your desire for God’s kingdom is fulfilled in asking Him for wisdom, His generosity rests in making you blameless. In other words, the wisdom received has the power, teaching and guidance to cleanse you from all sin, protect you from all evil and provide you the victory that alone is in Christ. No man can provide you with such aroma, and therefore, to lean on man is vain.
This victory distinguishes the children of God from that of the devil for the simple reason that the former are of righteousness and the latter are of evil. They are clearly visible as righteous, since they have righteousness in every work they perform. The children of the devil too are intensely visible, since the generosity of God that gives blamelessness does not exist in every work they perform. “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). To forsake all forms of immorality is righteousness. To do justice to the righteous, the poor, the widows and the orphans is righteousness. To speak the truth, obey God and to hate the doctrines that do not conform to the law and liberty of Christ is righteousness. To discard the freedom that lets us do whatever is pleasing to our eyes is righteousness. To practice love toward your brother who is indeed a brother in Christ is righteousness.
The beginning of the end is near. It is about to appear because of the evil being done under the sun. There will be ruin and disaster; fear and turmoil; death and mourning. Afflictions will increase abruptly, a sign for the righteous to hold fast Christ. Those that loved the earth and its contents will lose strength, because of what God performs. The wicked, the rebellious and those that did not believe in the Son of God will have no peace. They can neither be healed nor can they endure. It surely will not be a time for sympathy. However, those who have been made blameless by God will be unharmed. They will not fear the terror, pestilence or the destruction that is to come. No evil or plague will befall them. Their Jesus shall protect them. “When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev. 8:1). The great wrath about to come, as was never witnessed before, is the reason for silence. Blessed are the sinless!