Click play to listen to the sermon.
Events in the earth during the last days are going to cause “great distress,” particularly upon the weakest and most vulnerable.
But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (Luke 21:23-26)
Wicked men and devils always set their sights on the weak, weary, and vulnerable.
Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. (Deuteronomy 25:17,18)
David distinguished himself through the gentle care of his flock.
He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. (Psalm 78:70-72)
The Lord is a shepherd, not a cattle driver. He doesn’t drive the herd, he “gently leads” the flock.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
David learned from God how to be gentle. Because the Lord “came down” from heaven to rescue and uphold him, he lowered himself to aid and support the afflicted.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalm 18:35)
gentleness > Heb. – anvah > humility, meekness, condescension
If we are to serve others with gentleness we cannot “look down” on their afflicted/weakened condition. Gentleness involves “lowering ourselves” to where they are, and sharing their feelings as much as we can.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans 12:15,16)
Gentleness call for us to be compassionate and tender-hearted. Instead of despising those who are weaker than us for any reason, we should honor and pray for them.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous (1 Peter 3:7,8)
Those in leadership positions can get frustrated and “fed up” with those who don’t “get better.”
Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. (Psalm 106:33)
Harshness arises out of frustration with those who obviously need help, but won’t take the remedy we offer.
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified? Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. (Job 11:1-6)
Job recognized that his friends despised him because they were not “touched by the feeling of his infirmities.” They could not relate.
He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. (Job 12:5)
We disqualify ourselves as ministers when we are scared by those in deep affliction and emotional turmoil.
For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. (Job 6:21)
As wise as they thought they were, Job’s friends were “out of their league” when it came to helping him. The spirit out of which they “ministered” was not the Spirit of God.
But Job answered and said, How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee? (Job 26:1-4)
Job told his friends they were worthless doctors who gave him no help, and would be wise if they said nothing to him.
… Ye are all physicians of no value. O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. (Job 13:4,5)
Job’s friends reached a point where they could only “shake their head” at him. The harsh, misplaced counsel that kept coming from their frustrated spirits did not strengthen him or alleviate his grief, it only “poured salt into his wounds.”
Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief. (Job 16:1-5)
The grief of those in pain is only worsened by those who are harsh and unsympathetic toward them.
How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? (Job 19:2)
Job was not averse to receiving the “proper medicine” which would provide the healing and strength he needed.
How forcible (painful) are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? (Job 6:25)
Job wanted an audience with God because He believed that God’s ministry would “put strength” in him.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. (Job 23:3-6)
A good word from the throne of God has the power to rejuvenate us.
Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. (Proverbs 12:25)
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)
thirsty > Heb. – ayeph > faint, weary, exhausted
A “good” word is the right word we need to hear at a given time.
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23)
A ministry in the Spirit of Christ is one which hears from God and has an timely word for the weary, afflicted, and discouraged.
The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. (Isaiah 50:4)
The ministry of Christ is not one of frustration or harshness with the struggling. Gentleness makes His ministry effectual and great.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4)