Last night my wife, daughter, and I arrived to church only to find the entrance of the parking the scene of an accident. A motorcyclist traveling at a high rate of speed t-boned a church member’s car who was turning into the church lot. The biker had been drinking beer; in fact he had some empties and a couple of full beers tucked around him in his clothing.
The man was seriously injured and right before EMS and the police showed up his two biker companions jumped on their bikes and left. They left their buddy behind to face his injuries and whatever else his future holds…alone.
I awoke this morning at 2:30 with a medium case of vertigo and as I laid in bed debating whether I should get up or not, the Lord put this man on my heart and I began to pray for his physical healing and more importantly his spiritual healing.
Perhaps his friends didn’t want to get arrested for DUI or other reasons and there may even be a code among them that says we understand being left behind if the law comes, but I couldn’t help thinking that this man won’t eventually feel betrayed that his friends had deserted him.
And then the Holy Spirit reminded me of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested:
“And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’ Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, why have you come?’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?’ In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ THEN ALL THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM AND FLED.” [(Matthew 26:47-56) Emphasis added]
Have you ever been abandoned by those closest to you in your greatest time of need? Very few things can disappoint us as much and yet perhaps it is partly our fault. Can it be that we expect perfection from imperfect family and friends? If all our hope and dreams are wrapped up in humans; if all our joy and happiness comes only from fallen man, can we honestly expect anything less?
The Bible is filled with examples of human fear, fleeing, and failure. Remember the ten spies who went into the Promised Land?
“There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:33)
They not only fled the land fearful but they also spread the fear among their people.
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’” (Numbers 14:1-4)
How about Gideon’s Army?
“Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’ And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.” (Judges 7:3)
And of course the whole Israelite army before Goliath:
“And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.” (1 Samuel 17:24)
In all of these instances these men were supposed godly men and great warriors, so what happened? Just like the disciples in the garden, they took their eyes off of God and put them on their circumstances. And when we place all our hope in man we too will see our people fall away from fear. Worse than that, some of our so called friends will betray us with a kiss.
Our old friend and Bible commentator from the 17th Century Matthew Henry wrote of the disciples’ betrayal of Jesus in the garden:
“No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about His purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; He submitted to death. If He had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer Him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus, now to leave Him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, Whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!”
What folly indeed! And it is also folly to put all our hopes in mankind.
As the great old hymn of grace “The Solid Rock” says:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
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Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers