Thursday, February 11, 2016

A BRUISED SPIRIT

When Christ came to earth, Israel was living under the crushing rule of Rome. The Jews were heavily burdened by Roman taxes and laws. Meanwhile, a greedy priesthood was taking advantage of widows and the poor. The downtrodden were mocked and ridiculed, and the people were blinded by corruption. All of this is why so many of the prophets said Christ would come in an hour of darkness, bringing great light.

Jesus came into a society plagued by hypocrisy and rampant with sin. As He beheld the nation’s condition, He wept over Jerusalem (see Luke 19:41), prophesying that its house would become desolate. Yet He gave that society seventy more years of gospel preaching. And those years were filled with Spirit-anointed witnesses preaching hope and repentance, performing miracles, and issuing a powerful call to the kingdom. Jesus simply would not break the bruised reed that Israel had become.

Right now, that is a picture of America: a society completely bruised in its morality. We are also a nation that is depressed and disturbed, with people living in fear and mental agony. There are more psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and counselors than ever in history, yet they can’t keep up with all the people begging for just a single hour of help. This is true even in the Church: Christian counseling teams across the land are overburdened by the press of people needing help for their problems.

Our children are being bruised by broken families, abuse and molestation. Teenagers are being bruised by immorality, materialism and numbness. Satan has unleashed a flood of evil upon the land, and it has left in its wake a bent and bruised people.

Much of the Church itself has this same bruised spirit. In letter after letter, I read of Christians drying up in megachurches where sin or righteousness is no longer preached. They’re bewildered, wondering, “Where can I find true worship? There’s no sense of Christ’s presence here. There’s no brokenness.” Pastors also write, confessing, “Brother Dave, I’m backslidden.”

The New York Times ran a story recently about a Pentecostal church of 10,000 whose message is, “We’re here to make you happy.” But that message is bringing false hope and only temporary relief.

“The smoking flax shall he not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). Somewhere in this nation, God sees wicks that are smoldering—wicks that once were on fire, aflame with fervor for His purposes and concerns. But now they’re barely smoking.