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Hope in the Midst

“From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land… Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all the surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshipping what their hands have made.” Jeremiah 1:13-19.

This is a picture of God’s judgement coming on the nation of Israel from its Northern enemies. Take note that God was instigating this, it was not an attack from Satan upon the nation, though undoubtedly, he had a huge part to play in their fall.

While we may not have a physical enemy attacking Ireland from the north to besiege it, the church in Ireland is nevertheless under something of a siege, experiencing God’s judgement for the many ways – often subtle ones – in which we have forsaken Him and worshipped idols. There are many issues the church has embraced over the centuries which have brought us to this place – sectarian attitudes, various forms of nationalism, false covenants, secular humanism, denominationalism, to name a few. The outcome of this is in itself an expression of His judgement – decreasing church attendance (especially among the 18 – 40year olds) in many of our historic denominations, with a corresponding rise in the land in marital breakdown, absentee fathers, teenage pregnancies, abortion, binge drinking, drug abuse, self-harming, gender identity issues, suicide… The converse to this is – “Righteousness exalts a nation…”

There is undoubtedly a great shaking going on at all levels in our society – political, moral and spiritual and yet in the midst of it, we also see the mercy of God. He will shake what needs to be shaken, so that, like the prodigal son we “come to an end of ourselves” and see our need to come to the Father. In His love for us He waits. Finney, the American Revivalist of the 19th century said that “revival prayer is desperate prayer” and God in His mercy allows desperation to increase – negatively in the nation and positively in people who are being called to stand “in the gap” in prayer.

Yes Lord, in these days expose all that is not of You in Your church in this land and in my life. Help us to see clearly as You see. We want to be fit vessels to be used by You, to be filled to overflowing with Your living water. Amen.

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