In this life we’ll be hurt and mistreated, at times, sometimes even by those closest to us. The temptation is to give in and become bitter or vengeful. But our example is Christ who prayed even for His betrayers.
Isaiah 33 & 34
2 Corinthians 12.1-21
Isaiah 33 & 34:
God’s provision for the faithful
Chapter 33.15-16 says:
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
He who despises the gain of oppressions,
Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from seeing evil.
16 He will dwell on high;
His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
Bread will be given him,
His water will be sure.
Even in the midst of God’s judgment, He makes provision for those who remain faithful.
But I couldn’t help noticing the two phrases in verse 15, “who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed” and “and shuts his eyes from seeing evil.” I don’t believe that means we shut our eyes and ears to the reality of evil and the need to know what is going on in our country and our world. But it seems to me it would apply to seeing and hearing those things for entertainment or enjoyment. I think each of us must think about what that means in respect to our movie, TV, and video game industries and even our own habits.
When life hurts
Verse 4, “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”
In this life we will experience troubles and persecution. But we are not to give up (Lk. 18.1), turn bitter (Heb. 12.1), or return evil for evil (Rom. 12.17). Instead, we are to pray even for those who hurt or reject us!
A righteous man who falters
Verse 26, “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”
We are to be light shining out into a dark world (Phil. 2.15). That means we are to live and act differently from the rest of the world. If we act like unbelievers, it’s often all the excuse they need to reject the only thing we have to offer—the gospel.
It’s all about Him
While Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles; he was a true apostle, because he was taught personally by the Lord. Here in chapter 12 he talks of being taken up to the “third heaven” where God lives. The things God spoke to him there were so incredible, that he was given a “thorn in the flesh” to help him keep his feet on the ground and remember that it was all about God, that he was just a vessel, and that he was completely dependent on Him!
It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Verse 4 caught my eye in light of recent books and movies.
Paul said he heard, “inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” If the great Apostle was not permitted to share what he saw in heaven, it certainly should make us question the validity of the claims of those who say they did and are telling all about it! Just saying!
How to Overcome Evil by Jay Adams
Selfishness, anger, resentment, retaliation . . . Too often we succumb to these reactions, without thinking, when people sin against us. Even when we realize this is not how we should respond to family members, neighbors, fellow believers, coworkers, or enemies, the question arises: how should we respond?
How hard it is to see God’s goodness in the face of tragedy and suffering! Feeling abandoned, we cry out to him, question him, turn away from him, perhaps even curse him. It may seem like he’s cheated us–we’ve done our part following him, but he’s let us down.
Paul David Tripp helps hurting people see their circumstances from an eternal perspective. Gently uncovering the wrong motives, faulty reasoning, and misguided conclusions that can blind us to the truth of God’s love and goodness, Tripp focuses us on the grand picture of eternity. His compassionate approach and scriptural advice will help bring strength and hope to grieving souls.
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