(Matthew 5:4 WEB) Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
When we think of mourning we usually think of losing loved ones in our families or friends. We also witnessed the shooting of John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King. When national icons are murdered that can give us grief and mourning.
But there is also mourning when someone leaves us. This is something that the disciples of Jesus were confused about.
(John 16:19-23 WEB) 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said to them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that which I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say to you, that ye will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice: and ye will be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye will ask me nothing: Verily, verily, I say to you, Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give [it] you.
As I searched through my Topical index and my Thompson’s Chain-Reference that points to the definition of “mourn” as being sorrow for sin. Mourning for a loved one is only temporal and certain sooner or later. But for a person lost in sin there is an eternal consequence and it’s not good. Plus a person living in sin usually creates multi-generational consequences. Whole nations can become corrupted.
Fear of God
Fear of the Lord is a reminder to us. But we can trust God who is loving and unchanging.
(Psalm 19:9-11 WEB) 9 The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb. 11 Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.
Fidelity to God starts with the fear of God. This is not a burden when we recognize the awesomeness and fairness of God. And we’re given a warning.
Don’t we sometimes step right up to the edge of the cliff of unrighteousness and hope we don’t fall over. How many times have we told ourselves this? I’ll start off with a normally abbreviated passage that shows an individual concern about crossing the line into sin.
(Psalm 19:12-14 WEB) 12 Who can understand [his] errors? cleanse thou me from secret [faults]. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
We’ve heard a lot about verse 12. And we’ve all been there. How about verse 13 though? OUCH! Who lets sin dominate us? Like Flip Wilson playing Geraldine “the Devil made me do it”!
I’m glad that verses 9 and 14 bracket these two sections of scripture. Besides it’s uncomfortable falling over a cliff.
God is not only loving and unchanging, but He is also a promise keeper. And the promise is that all that we experience will suddenly disappear and the unsaved souls changes are reduced to zero with no hope. There is an urgency in the here and now to accept God’s saving Grace before it’s too late.
(2 Peter 3:9-11 WEB) 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein will be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things will be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy deportment and godliness,
For the sake of our families, friends, and fellow saints, we must be diligent in living the righteous life that is fitting of a Christian. As a husband and parent our first responsibility is to our nuclear family and the children. But right after that comes the winning of lost souls and discipleship. This is the task laid out in Matthew 28:18-20.
mourning over sin
I’ve found several instances in the Bible of people mourning over their sin. They are too numerous to list them all. At the end of this post I’ll list all the verses from my Topical Index.
Job was confronted by the younger man Elihu. Pointing out to him the blame that he was making to God. Then God steps into the conversation and challenges Job. See my earlier post on Job and Elihu.
(Job 42:3-6 WEB) 3 Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that which I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will ask of thee, and declare thou to me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.
I believe Job thought he was immune to trials when he had done so many benevolent works. Job accepted the reality that he was not immune. And God forgave Job because Job repented.
Deny Three Times
Here is the passage where Peter had denied Christ three times. He was bewildered at Jesus suffering and impending death. Peter’s heart was focused on himself.
(Mark 14:71-72 WEB) 71 But he began to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crowed. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said to him, Before the cock shall crow twice, thou wilt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
When Peter remembered Jesus predicted Peter would deny Jesus three times Peter was overcome with sorrow over betraying Jesus. The same is true for us. God is our shield; but when we start thinking first about ourselves and begin to do things our way, then we set ourselves up for not being true to our Savior.
This passage comes from the parable of the prodigal son. I’ve known of people today who are already squabbling over their inheritance while their parents are still alive. People who are not grateful become selfish people.
(Luke 15:18-19 WEB) 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Even though the son is repentant, he has already been given his inheritance. The inheritance is his brothers alone. And even though he repents and is welcome in his father’s house he now has a new normal of his own making.
Pharisee and publican
(Luke 18:9-10 WEB) 9 And he spoke this parable to certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray;
the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee was respected in society and the Publican was despised. Their prayers were very different, but the outcome was the opposite of what society practiced. Again in verse 14 the one who humbled themself was praised. And Jesus had already pointed out the pride of the Pharisee which God hates.
(Luke 18:11-13 WEB) 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
David abused his privilege as King and took Uriah’s wife. Later he tried to cover up his sin and eventually conspired in the death of Uriah. To make matters worse Uriah was one of his 30 champions who covered David’s back in battle. David knew exactly what he was doing when he asked for Bathsheba.
(Psalm 51:1-4 WEB) 1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.
Verse 4 shows me the great sorrow of David that recognizes God’s role of discipline in his life. Already feeling guilty before Natan confronted him, David now faces a just and a fearsome God. And it’s David’s recognition of the gravity of his sin that causes his deep remorse. And not only did David later experience expulsion from his throne (temporarily), but the death of four of his sons.
So where does the comfort come into all of this? Mostly we think of home, cars, a boat, perfect family, perfect church, perfect health, perfect friends, etc.. But right – this all doesn’t just happen. For missionaries in places where persecution exists, the missionaries count their blessing by people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
So here is a scriptural snapshot of the comfort at the end of the five people I’ve written about (all of them sinners like we were).
(Job 42:12-13, 16 WEB) 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons, and three daughters. … 16 After this Job lived a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, [even] four generations.
(John 21:15-18 WEB) 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him, Yes, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith to him, Yes, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith to him the third time, Simon [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said to him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith to him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast young, thou didst gird thyself and walk whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither thou wouldst not.
(Luke 15:20, 22-24 WEB) 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. … 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
(Luke 15:24 WEB) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Pharisee and Publican
(Luke 18:14 WEB) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
(Psalm 32:5-7 WEB) 5 I acknowledged my sin to thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 6 For this shall every one that is godly pray to thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh to him. 7 Thou [art] my hiding place; thou wilt preserve me from trouble; thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Except for Job the other men that I listed all received blessings – but not wealth or a stress free life. Our relationship with God is the most important. Anything more than that are just blessings (some undeserved).
Topical references to “mourn” and “comfort”
2 Kings 22:18, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Job 42:6, Mark 14:72, Luke 15:21 & 18:13, Acts 2:36-37, 2 Peter 3:9,
Job 5:19 & 11:16, Psalms 27:5 & 30:5 & 42:5 & 03:13 & 119:50 & 138:7, Isaiah 12:1 & 40:1 & 46:4 & 61:3 & 63:9, Matthew 5:4, Luke 7:13 & 15:20-22, John 14:1, Rom 8:28, 2 Corinthians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:7 & 4:13
Trusting in the counter-intuitive logic of a loving Creator.
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