I am fascinated by Peter’s simple statement to Christ after Jesus finished telling people that they must drink His blood and eat His flesh. Many left:
John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
Be encouraged brothers and sisters: When all seems lost, we are the Lord’s. When you’re going through the fiery trials and fighting off the darts of the devil, remember our Lord Jesus Christ. “To whom shall we go?”
Psalm 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
I think about Joseph, hated by his brothers, but not because of anything Joseph had done, initially; rather, because of Jacob’s apparent favoritism which struck jealousy and rage in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. This fire became even more enflamed when Joseph told them of his dreams.
After some time, they conspire to kill Joseph. He’s “saved” by Reuben. He’s thrown in to a pit, and enslaved by Ishmaelites. He goes to serve Potiphar. There’s no implication that Joseph responded bitterly or with resentment. In fact, during his time under Potiphar he was blessed with favor. However, trials come again with Potiphar’s wife’s accusation of Joseph’s wrongdoing. Such was not true. He remained faithful to God. He was the imprisoned on false charges. Yet…no bitterness.
Well, we all know how it ends. Joseph wins! But it was not without hardship. It repeatedly says, “The Lord was with him…” I’m sure, at times, Joseph didn’t feel like the Lord was with him. But he did believe, according to God’s promise and character, that He was with him. He told his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”. Oh that we would take comfort in the life of Joseph when all around us seems to crumble.
Let us think of Job. Phew…aren’t we glad we didn’t have to go through what Job went through. Satan didn’t initiate this in Job’s life. God did. Satan didn’t speak until spoken to. “Have you considered my servant Job?”, He asked the old serpent. Did God intend harm on Job? By no means! He intended for His glory to be shown through the suffering of His servant, Job.
Job was “innocent”, comparatively speaking. In spite of such, he lost everything! Even a bit of his very own flesh…His own wife, obviously hating to see him in such pain, tried to turn his thoughts from submission to God. He lost riches, family, and his own health. He even had to sit through the false scathing rebukes of his ignorant friends. Yet…in the end, it worked out for him twofold.
To God be the Glory. What was his response? “The Lord gives. The Lord takes. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” What a testimony to the grace and sovereignty of God during our times of utmost relentless testing. May we be reminded of Job during our times of hardship.
David: Wow. David went through some tough times himself. He had to flee from Saul for his life. It was not that he was guilty of treason; rather, again, it was that wretched vile thing called jealousy. Saul was jealous of David’s popularity with the people. He was forced to flee for his very life, after being one of the favorites in the King’s court. Yet, he lived obediently to God. Even to the point of not harming “the Lord’s anointed.” He refused to practice the way the world would’ve practiced. Even when the “religious” would deem it ok or necessary. May we learn from this earlier aspect of David’s life.
Let us look at Hosea. Called by God to marry an unfaithful Gomer. The shame and scorn and reproach he must have felt. There was no room for foolish pride in this man’s life. His wife was a whore, and God commanded such. Hosea was obedient. What a testimony of God’s faithfulness to us, is Hosea’s faithfulness to Gomer. May we always remember such when we’re called to do the difficult things that seem impossible.
There are so many examples of such things. Let us look at the Master and His example. Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, Exalted, Glorious, God. What did He do? He humbled Himself, came to earth as a man, endured the sin of His elect. OH WHAT A BURDEN!!! The greatest burden of all. Much more than slavery, prison, marriage to a whoring wife. Rather, it was multitudes upon multitudes of sinful men’s transgressions against the Most Holy God. What a WEIGHT TO BEAR! Yet…He was obedient to His Father. Praise be to God for such! Forgive us, O, Lord for forgetting you in times of trouble. Trouble that is so petty compared to the hardship of the Cross, which You endured. Have mercy on us, Father. You are to be praised!
We are His. Be encouraged, His Elect. He is ruling and reigning with His right arm. He is breaking and redeeming with His Spirit. He shall never leave us, nor forsake us. Behold, He is with us always…even to the end. Be encouraged, if the world hates you, remember, it hated Him first. Blessed are we if we’re reviled for His sake. No matter what you’re going through, do not despair. God is working and orchestrating His flawless, perfect plan. O, Father, what is man that you are mindful of him?
2 Cor. 12:9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
O, God. I pray that we, Your people, when under affliction, would fix our eyes on You. Let us boast in our weaknesses, infirmities, trials, and hardships. Let us see that what others mean for evil, you mean for God. Let us worship you all the more in such times.