IN TRIBULATION, TURN TO THE LORD
Deuteronomy 4:30-31 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.
This chapter of Deuteronomy starts off with God's admonition to neither add to nor subtract from his commandments, but, rather, to keep them. He reminds them how He punished the ungodly and saved the faithful. Moses warns them how God abhors idolatry and His judgments against its practice. These thoughts are followed by the lesson text which tells of God's longsuffering, mercy, and willingness to forgive and forget the sins of those that turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice. His promise of this in noted in verse 29 which says that if you seek God, thou shall find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
The lesson text appears to confirm that tribulations can cause one to turn to, and accept, God as the Creator and giver of eternal salvation. "Tribulation" is the misery and distress that results from oppression and misfortune. It is further described as the trials, suffering, hardships, and pain that try ones endurance. Just as precious metals are tried by fire to test their quality, so mankind is tested by the trials that each must face in their conduct of life here on earth. Affliction is another word that helps describe tribulation. Afflictions primarily describes the reason for pain, suffering, and distress including such things as illness, disease, losses of family members and friends, as well as the loss of personal property.
Acts 14:22 assures us that all mankind must expect tribulations. Paul's gospel messages to the people of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch exhorted them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Please be assured, that having tribulations does not automatically grant one eternal life in Heaven. I'm sure that we all know someone that has experienced trials and tribulations and became angry at God, blaming Him for their misfortune, loss, illness, etc. Some men and women rebel to the extent that they jeopardize their salvation, as well as those that they influence with their negative characteristics and practices.
For this particular lesson, we need to note the positive affect that tribulations can have on all mankind. We rejoice in grace..., and in hope of the glory of God. ...we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed (Romans 5: 2-5). Being patient in tribulation, is listed in Roman 12:10-12 as a good Christian characteristic along with brotherly love, not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, continuing in prayer, being charitable and hospitable, etc.
In his epistle, James says, my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. We are even told that, as a follower of Jesus Christ, we will suffer trials and tribulations. Speaking to Christians, Peter says, If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye. ...Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (1 Peter 4: 14 & 16). Be assured, there are many things in life that one will, and should, be ashamed of, but being obedient to God and living a Christian life is not one of them. When ridiculed for being a follower of Christ, one is to be grateful, not to be ashamed.
Shame is a temptation of life that may cause us to err. So are lust, envy, riches, power, and the like. However, through God and His Son Jesus Christ, a way has been provided that will allow us to overcome all temptations that may result from such tribulations. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:13). Therefore, Christian, keep this in mind - in tribulation, turn to the Lord.