When Will All of Our Sorrows End?

We are two-thirds through what has been an uncertain and tumultuous 2020. The number of new COVID-19 cases and their associated deaths are growing every day in the United States, and throughout the world. The quick disappearance of this disease-causing pandemic has not come to fruition as some may have hoped. Instead of this pandemic uniting us in a common effort, it appears to be driving people further apart.

People’s lives have been turned upside down due to the uncertainty about taking care of their family, staying healthy both physically and financially, and seeing that their children receive a proper education. Confusion, fear, violence, and social injustice are running rampant. Medical personnel and facilities have been stretched to their capacity in many cases. Although there has been much speculation, no one knows when things will get better in the near future.

Due to these troubling circumstances, we may ask ourselves, what now? The trouble and sorrow that has borne down upon humanity has been bitter, and many in their distresses have wondered whether God has any pity, or if He even exists at all. We may wonder, what is my level of faith and trust in the Heavenly Father?

To answer these questions, we must look to the scriptures for the comfort and assurance that God provides so that our faith and trust in Him can grow and we will not be fearful. The psalmist David wrote, in the words from which our title is taken, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) This “night” of sin, sorrow, and death began with the disobedience of our first parents in Eden. Indeed, it has indeed been a night of weeping. (Genesis 2:17, 3:1-24)

Do not despair, however, for God promises there will be a morning of joy for the human race. That morning will usher in a new day of blessing for all mankind that will come from the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth with Jesus as its ruler. This government of righteousness has been foretold by all God’s “holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:20 21)

What a wonderful governmental arrangement this will be! It will establish universal and lasting peace between men and between men and God, which man in his selfishness has been unable to do. The divine head of this government, Christ, is described in prophecy as “The Prince of Peace,” and we are promised that “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6,7)

This kingdom will bring economic security to everyone. This is shown by the prophecy that every man will dwell under his own “vine” and “fig tree.” (Micah 4:4) Much of the suffering in the world throughout the ages has been due to lack of food, clothing, and shelter. Even today millions of the human race exist on insufficient supplies of food, have little clothing, and live with the most meager of shelter over their heads. This will be corrected through Christ’s earthly kingdom. All shall have the opportunity to live in peace and safety. (Isaiah 11:9) The prophet Isaiah adds: “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat … And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands ” (Isaiah 65:21-22)

Peace and economic security will not be the only blessings guaranteed to the people under the rulership of  Christ’s kingdom. Isaiah wrote, “In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering [death] cast over all people, and the vail [ignorance] that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:6-8)

Image Copyright: Lofhi / CC BY-SA

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Samson was the seventh judge of Israel. His birth and commission to be a Nazarite were foretold by an angel, an honor given to very few in scripture. He was endowed with miraculous strength which he used to fight the Philistines. At this point, the Philistines had ruled over Israel for forty years. (Compare Judges 13:1 and Judges 15:11)
Samson had a preoccupation with the women of Philistia which was overruled by God for the improvement of Israel’s national situation. (Judges 14:4) His romantic interests became a pretext for personal conflict with the Philistines.

At the celebration of his marriage to a woman of Timnah, Samson challenged his Philistine companions to solve a riddle. Unable to solve it, they threatened his bride and her family for the answer. In reponse Samson paid his debt with the garments of thirty Philistines he killed in a neighboring town.—Judges 14:10-19

In his absence, his bride was married to another. (Judges 14:20-15:2) This started his feud with the Philistines that defined his judgeship. This feud led to spoiling the Philistine economy by burning their crops at harvest (Judges 15:3-5), the killing of a thousand men with a jawbone (Judges 15:14-16), and the destruction of the gates of the city of Gaza.—Judges 16:3

Samson’s fall came from his relationship with Delilah who convinced him to share the secret of his strength—his relationship with God, as symbolized by his hair. With his hair cut, Samson lost his strength, was blinded, and imprisoned. In the moment of his greatest weakness, chained to two pillars in the temple of Dagon, Samson asked God for strength. Receiving it, he destroyed the temple, killing himself and 3,000 Philistines, including their leaders. Thus, he freed Israel from Philistine oppression for the next twenty years.—Judges 16:23-30

Samson’s story is an example that God can use imperfect people to accomplish his plans. It reminds us of the danger of giving in to our fallen human tendencies. It reveals that when we are at our weakest, God is still with us. If we ask for his strength to do his will, He is faithful to hear us.—Lam. 3:22,23

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Reflections at the Laver

The laver of the Tabernacle of Israel represents to Christians something of profound significance. (Exod. 30:18-21) The laver was made from polished copper and filled with water for the priests to wash and cleanse themselves before entering the Tabernacle and performing its services. “When they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; ….”—vss. 20,21, NASB

We understand from scripture that this polished copper was made from the looking glasses, or mirrors, of the Israelites. Copper is a picture of human perfection, just as the copper snake that was lifted up in the wilderness to heal the snake-bitten Jews. This showed how Jesus took mankind’s place under sin’s penalty by giving his perfect human life as a ransom for Adam. (Num. 21:6-9; John 3:14; 1 Tim. 2:5,6) The water in the laver represented the water of Truth from God’s holy Word which the christian uses to cleanse himself.—Eph. 5:26

Antitypical priests, or spirit-begotten Christians, come to the laver of God’s Word to wash and thus, cleanse themselves from the defilements of sin in their fallen human nature. Like the Levitical priests, they strive to cleanse themselves in a process of sanctification, for the service to which they have been called.—1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 10:22
When a spirit-begotten Christian bends forward to utilize the water of Truth for cleansing, they see the reflection of their imperfections from the water. However, because the laver itself was made from polished copper, they also see the reflection of Christ Jesus’ perfection and recognize how to better be conformed to his image. Through the process of continual cleansing, they hopefully will see a reflected image that looks more and more like Jesus, and less and less like the old creature they used to be. This is expressed in the words, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” We are to humble ourselves and be obedient to the Word of God being “conformed to the image of his Son [Jesus].”—Phil. 2:5; Rom. 8:29 n