“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
Now, I really realize that there is nothing new under the sun. If I’ve got an idea or a thought, someone else has probably already had that same idea or thought before. They may or may not have vocalized it. It may have never come to fruition or been know to have existed by another man or woman, but I’m pretty sure someone somewhere else has thought the same thoughts I have. It’s even so with what we think about together, Lord. But I have to admit that it still amazes me every time You take me in a particular direction and then I see You taking me to others who You have lead in that particular direction at that same particular time. Like with where we are going now. Here we are looking at vindication. Only a couple days ago, You started me looking at that through Moses’s account with Miriam and Aaron. And I suppose that came from some pain in my own life and pain I’ve been seeing in the lives around me. And I’m so overjoyed that You are not only taking me here, but You are taking everyone who was at the Bible study last night there too. And You’re taking so many more people there that I don’t even know, because this is the God that You are.
I may not know much, but I know this one thing, that for those who love You, for those who are called according to Your pupose, all things are working together for good. Yes, even the hurt and pain is working together for good. Why? Because You have a greater purpose appointed for us than just to get to heaven. You are working Yourself out in us. We are joint heirs learning to suffer jointly with our Jesus. We are joint heirs being conformed into Your image. So if You allowed our Jesus to go through circumstances requiring vindication, why would I escape what my Master did not? I’m not above Him. Maybe I have to be molded to understand the joy set before me. Maybe I have to be molded to understand compassion for my “tormentors” like You have, Jesus. How can I ever learn to respond like You if I never have to suffer like You?
Suffer? What do You mean? Have I ever been misunderstood? Yes. Have I ever been unappreciated? Yes. Have I ever been ignored? Yes. Have I ever been questioned regarding a decision made? Yes. Have I ever been oppressed or hurt? Yes. Have I ever been belittled? Yes. Have I ever been slandered, maligned, defamed, or gossiped about? Yes. Have I ever been short-changed? Yes. Have I ever been made the scapegoat, the fall guy, or wrongly accused? Yes. Any one else fill those shoes? Because last night, a whole room full of believers raised their hands to each question. And the interesting thing is that this has been weighing on my heart, because I know other believers, myself included, who are experiencing this from within the “believing” community.
You know, Lord, it’s one thing to receive “persecution” from a non-believer, but it’s a different level of hurt to receive it from a believer. And in either situation, I’m learning not to fix it myself in my own power, because vindication has to come from You. But just because You vindicated Jesus, does that mean that I can expect You to vindicate me? Two questions were raised last night. Is it right for a believer to expect or even pray for vindication? And will God vindicate a child of His? I’m so glad that I just finished reading about Moses. Because I saw that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
But Moses isn’t the only example. Listen to David, a man after God’s own heart, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.” (Psalm 26:1-3) Here it is again in Psalm 43:1-4, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For You are the God in whom I take refuge; why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.”
I can related to these words. I have experienced some difficult times walking forward in obedience to You, Lord, living and trusting in You in my daily walk in the way I am able. And I know that if You examined my heart at these times, You would say I’m covered, I was obeying, I was acting in faith, I had a right heart attitude and outward attitude in You, my mind was pure. In the midst of the attacks my mind was set on You and Your love and responding in You. But sometimes people see what they want to see or they see what only their own pain allows them to see. And false accusations fly and painful words come crashing down on us. And there’s no words or actions that we could set forth that would allow us to vindicate ourselves. It doesn’t work. And all I can do is cry out to You to vindicate me and to continue to give me a right heart and life attitude. I have to be honest here, sometimes it’s hard not to go about mourning because of the oppression. It’s especially hard when the oppression continues. How do I keep the wound from re-opening? There is only one answer for me.
You are that One Answer. You must continually send out Your light and Your truth to me and in me. I need Your supernatural intervention. I’m weak on my own. I haven’t got it. This person who wants to mend relationaships can’t fix it in my own power. It’s beyond me. But nothing is beyond You. I need to turn my eyes and mind and emotions off of the circumstance and turn them on You. And every time they are tempted to turn back, I need to turn them forcibly back on You. I need to run to You. I need to fill myself with Your exceeding joy. I need to fill myself with Your praise. I need to re-adjust my attitude and re-adjust my focus while I wait for vindication. I need to trust that vindication will come but I need to move on and move back to You and let You handle that while I handle focussing on You.
If I go to Luke 18:1-8, I see an example that You, Jesus, give. There is this widow who was coming to this judge. Now this judge didn’t fear God, but she was so persistent about crying out to him for vindication that he finally gave in so she wouldn’t keep hounding him. And this is how You summarized that story, “Will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Unlike that earthly judge, God loves His children. He will give justice. He will vindicate. But I also think that there is something in those final words, “will He find faith on earth?” What does that mean?
“Will He find faith on earth?” I wonder if that means, “Will He find someone so intently focussed on God?” See, the interesting thing is how verse 1 started, “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” The King James Version says, “always to pray, and not to faint.” And doesn’t this all go back to the focus David prayed for? Isn’t faith all about Who my focus is on? What if this losing heart or fainting is all about focussing on my own weakness or the weaknesses around me? And what if faith is about taking my eyes off of me and the stuff around me and praying in faith, and praising in faith, and looking expectantly to the One who is Strong, to the One who is never weak, to the One who is always Able? So here’s a question I should ask myself, “Lord, are You finding faith in me right now?” “What’s my focus? Is it right? Is it on You? Are You inhabitting my praises? In the midst of everything, am I sitting down feeling sorry for myself and having a pity party or am I singing in the midst of my bruising and chains and imprisonment because You are more wonderful than the pain?
So, is it righteous for a believer to expect or even pray for vindication? Yes! Yes! Yes! You are my Heavenly Father! You are Abba, Father! You are my Righteous Judge! You are my Jesus! I will cry out to You. But I will continually praise You and focus on Your goodness. I will faithfully continue to obey You and walk in Your ways. I will discard those things, those attitudes, those thoughts, those feelings, that speak anything contrary to You. I will pray for the good of those who oppress me. I will surround myself with praise and blessing in You. I will let You cover me. And I will embrace being covered by You. I will run to the door of Your Sanctuary not as a stranger, but as Your dear child.
As a dear child, I will run to my Father, Abba. I will be understood by You. You know my heart. I will run to You and be appreciated. You have chosen me. I will run to You and You will not ignore me. You lean close to me and You hear me. I will run to You and I will know that I am listening and obeying Your voice and Your directions. I will run to You and receive joy unspeakable and full of mercy instead of oppression and hurt. I will run to You and be exalted in due time. I will run to You so that I can hear You speak over me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I will run to You and always receive what You have promised. I will never be short-changed in You. I will run to You because You will never falsely accuse me, You know my heart.
Abba, thank You in Your infinite wisdom and power for sending Jesus to save me, to save each person who will surrender to Him in faith. But thank You also for being such an intimate God that You know everything that we need and that You provide everything we need. Lord, Your Word is like an eternal treasure chest. I suppose it has to be, because You are and Eternal Treasure Chest. This time with You today is just a beginning, just a glimpse of Your desire for us, and for Your gift of vindication to us. And it’s just a start into that truth. I’m so grateful to Bo Barredo for obeying You and sharing this message last night. I’m eternally grateful to You for starting me on this path and continuing it. I can’t wait to live it out today and to learn more and live that out as I learn it. And I’m so grateful that I don’t have to be ruled by the pain in my life. I have a God, You, Who has a better plan for me. Let me always focus on You and live in the power of Your plan for me.