He Will Prevail—As Will His Church
The Church, wherever it is to be found, has always occupied a minority position in regard to the overall population. Sadly, there is the reality that not everyone who claims Christ is a member of the house of God. As the Apostle Paul pointed out, “For they are all not all Israel, which are of Israel …” (Romans 9:6).
This reality can be disheartening and there are few, if any, of us that have so easily passed through our time as Christians as not at some point to have been surprised by this reality. It puts us on the back foot until we are reminded from scripture. When we pay careful attention to the Word of God we will see it has always been so.
The faithlessness of the Israelites during the Exodus shocks some readers. Did not the LORD just deliver them from Pharaoh? Did he not afflict the Egyptians with plague after plague that did not touch them? Did he not cause them to cross the Red Sea on dry land in his rescue of them? Did the Lord not destroy the army of Pharaoh as it sought to chase and slay them? Of course he did but Egyptian cucumbers left a memory so sweet that it blocked out the memory of the harsh reality of their enslavement.
Think of how many deserted Jesus when things got tough. When he was healing the sick and feeding the multitudes, the crowds were large. Even so, he went to the cross, despite the big talk of Peter and assurances of others, only three stood by him in death.
The reality is that in practice, faithlessness is always more popular than faithfulness. Faithlessness is easy. Faithfulness is difficult. Faithlessness is cheap. Faithfulness is costly.
We live at a time when it is very easy to see epic faithlessness. Faithlessness to such a degree that we are able to forget, the perfect faithfulness of the ALMIGHTY towards those who are his. This too, has always been the case. Solomon, as always, had it right, “there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
2 Kings 6:8-17 recounts the events surrounding an attempt of the King of Syria to lay hold of the Man of God, the Prophet Elisha. The servant of Elisha, a man named Gehazi went out one morning and saw the Syrian army surrounding their location. He called to Elisha, “Alas my master! How shall we do?”
Elisha’s response was short and clear. “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
Gehazi was allowed to see what before had been invisible to his eyes. No doubt he recalled the account of how a chariot of fire had descended and taken up Elisha’s predecessor, Elijah. In answer to Elisha’s prayer, he was allowed to see a heretofore invisible reality.
When we recite the Nicene Creed in our churches we confess, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” We need to remember that in practice and not just in public religious settings.
Yes, we should be concerned over what we see and read that is faithless to Christ within his Church but we must not despair…not even if the wind of heresy roars in our ears or when it feels that heaving waves of apostasy will cause the Church to sink. The Lord of the Church is now as he always has been; omnipotent, omniscient, and immutable. His plans, ways, and provision are not always visible but he has not changed. Nothing has escaped his notice. He will prevail—as will his Church.
In the meantime, we must do as Paul told the Philippians, we must press on.