A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
HEAVEN’S COMFORT FOR MOURNERS ON EARTH
The Lord Jesus Christ came to lead us into the way of blessedness. The disciples had learned from the Lord’s preaching in the previous chapter but they wanted to learn more of Him. This desire to learn more is the quality of a disciple and the sign of being alive. The disciple that is alive will always want to learn more from his Lord. When the Lord saw the desire to learn in His disciples, He opened His mouth and taught them. When Jesus came, He did not close or seal up the revelation from God. The Lord did not entertain or excite His audience, rather, He taught them. Like Jesus Christ, preachers of the gospel ought to teach and to put instructions, doctrine and teaching into the hearts of the people.
There was neither sorrow nor mourning until sin entered into the world. It was only joy, happiness, health, energy, courage and purpose for living. But when sin came in, sorrow, suffering and death came in and with these came mourning. If there is mourning today, there is the likelihood that someone must have died in the family. Personal sin cuts man away from the life of God; when there is personal sin, there will be mourning. Also, when there is suffering, it brings along mourning. Physical or spiritual death of loved ones often brings mourning and sorrow in our hearts. But the coming of Christ has brought forgiveness and salvation for sinners, joy and happiness for the sorrowful, hope for the hopeless, encouragement and upliftment for those in despair and comfort for mourners.
CAUSES OF HEART-BREAKING MOURNING
Matthew 5:4; Isaiah 59:11-14; Exodus 33:1-4; Joel 2:12-14;1 Corinthians 5:1,2; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Psalm 119:53,136; 1 Samuel 15:10-24,35; 16:1.
In the world, mourning is often taken as a sign of weakness. No wonder, there are people that train themselves never to mourn even when they have life’s reverses, calamities or difficulties. Such people are different from Jesus who endorsed mourning when He said, “Blessed [not hopeless or spineless] are they that mourn”. He did not say that it was because their personalities were not well developed as psychologists would have us believe today. He even wept over Jerusalem when it did not recognize God’s plan for it, He also wept when Lazarus died.
When there is sin and when it multiplies in the midst of God’s people, there must be mourning. God had promised the children of Israel the Canaan land but mid-way into their journey, they disobeyed God. And He decided to withdraw His presence from them. Although He was still to give them the Promised Land, He said He would not go with them but would only send an angel to go with them because of the rebellion of the children of Israel. Unlike some people with limited understanding who would have been satisfied with having a substitute, the children of Israel understood the message and mourned. We mourn when we see that the presence of God is absent from us even though the provisions are there. When there is sin in the congregation, there is nothing to be excited about; rather, it calls for mourning.
The following are the causes of mourning (i) Personal sin (Psalm 38:3-6). (ii) The people’s sin (Jeremiah 13:17). (iii) The princes’ or leaders’ sin (1 Samuel 15:24,35). When a leader over God’s people goes into sin and remains therein, it causes mourning. (iv) Perpetual sinning (Hosea 4:1-4). (v) Predicted suffering (1 Kings 21:21,27). (vi) Prolonged, protracted sickness (Psalm 88:9-16). (vii) Painful separation (John 16:5-7).
CONFESSION OF HUMBLE MOURNERS
Matthew 5:4; Psalms 38:1-8; 51:1-12; Ezekiel 7:16-19; Jonah 3:4-10; James 4:8-10; 2 Corinthians 7:6-11; Proverbs 28:13; 2 Chronicles 7:14.
It is wonderful to be among those that humbly mourn for any reason. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Mourners are low in the dust; they are humble – they are not proud. They feel humiliated in their plight. As a result, they cry to God and are sorrowful. For our confession to be noticed, acceptable and responded to by God as mourners, especially for sin, it must be sincere, heartfelt, humble and honest. Pharaoh, Saul, Balaam, Achan and Judas Iscariot all confessed albeit insincerely. God did not accept and did not grant them forgiveness and favour because they were not repentant. When the mourner is sincere, honest and humble, then he will be noticed and accepted in the sight of God.
COMFORT FOR HONEST MOURNERS
Matthew 5:4; Isaiah 12:1,2; 51:3,11,12; 57:18-21; Jeremiah 31:11,13; Isaiah 52:9,10; 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17; Luke 16:19-25.
There is comfort for honest mourners. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” God is always angry with the sinner. Sinning attracts divine judgement upon the sinner. But when there is a turning around, a sincere sorrow for sin and repentance on the part of the sinner, God turns away His anger. Thus, He comforts mourners. “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even I, am he that comforteth you” (Isaiah 51:11,12).
God has promised to comfort His children that mourn in this life and in eternity. There is an everlasting comfort awaiting honest mourners in heaven where all sorrows, heartaches, troubles, temptations we experience in this world will be over. When we cross over to the heavenly shore, and the causes of sorrow – sin, sickness and Satan - are all forgotten, and the Almighty God wipes tears from your eyes, what a blissful comfort that will be! Whatever adverse circumstance you may be passing through now as a Christian, you must endure and hold out to the end to enjoy eternal comfort like Lazarus did. Mourn for personal sins and repent of them in earnest prayer to God so as to be forgiven and comforted today.
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