December 14:Patient Endurance
Jeremiah 27:1–28:17; Romans 5:1–21; Proverbs 20:1–12
In theory, it’s easy to provide answers to difficult faith questions. But when we face real trials, everything changes. We gain a new perspective on the Bible passages we’ve memorized; the Christian maxims we’ve passed on to others reverse and hit us full force. We don’t have the option to talk in hypotheticals. Trials require heartfelt faith and total reliance on God.
Suffering and trials are not punishment or neglect on God’s part. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. Paul describes how God works through trials to build us up in faith. And His work is not a quick fix or an easy answer. It’s a process, as Paul describes in his letter to the Roman church: “And not only this, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces patient endurance, and patient endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:3–5).
In times of suffering, we aren’t meant to abandon mourning or put up an artifice of strength. We’re not supposed to conquer and overcome and become the next Christian success story. God uses these trials to work in us—a slow, evolving work that begins with endurance, creates character, and culminates with a hope that won’t disappoint. We don’t embark on such a process by ourselves. Throughout our suffering, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5).
We will face trials and suffering in our lifetime—whether everyday difficulties or life-altering events. But affliction doesn’t separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:35). Indeed, God uses it to confirm His love for us. May Paul’s words give us comfort and perspective for the work God is or will be doing in us.
What trials or suffering are you enduring? How do Paul’s words shed light on your trials?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah King of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me, Make thee bonds, and yokes, and put them upon thy neck. And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah the king of Judah, And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, Thus shall ye say unto your masters, I have made the earth, the man, and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power, and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it pleased me. But now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babel my servant, and the beasts of the field have I also given him to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son until the very time of his land come also: then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babel, the same nation will I visit saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have wholly given them into his hands. Therefore hear not your prophets nor your soothsayers, nor your dreamers, nor your enchanters, nor your socerers which say unto you thus, Ye shall not serve the king of Babel. For they prophesy a lie unto you to cause you to go far from you land, and that I should cast you out, and you should perish.But the nation that put their necks under the yoke of the king of Babel, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord, and they shall occupy it, and dwell therein.I spake also unto Zechariah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babel, and serve him and his people, that ye may live. Why will ye die, thou, and thy people by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation, that will not serve the king of Babel? Therefore hear not the words of the prophets that speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babel: for they prophesy a lie unto you. For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesy a lie in my Name, that I might cast you out, and that ye might perish, both you, and the Prophets that prophesy unto you. Also I spake to the Priests, and to all this people, saying, Thus saith the Lord, hear not the words of your prophets that prophesy unto you, saying, Behold, the vessels of the house of the Lord shall now shortly be brought again from Babel: for they prophesy a lie unto you. Hear them not, but serve the king of Babel, that ye may live: wherefore should this city be desolate? But if they be Prophets, and if the word of the Lord be with them, let them entreat the Lord of hosts, that the vessels, which are lef in the House of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babel. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city, Which Nebuchadnezzar King of Babel took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babel, with all the nobels of Judah, and Jerusalem. For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem. They shall be brought to Babel, and thre they shall be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord: then will I bring them up, and restore them unto this place. And that same year in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah King of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the Priests, and of all the people, and said, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the King of Babel. Within two years space I will bring into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s House, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel took away from this place and carried them into Babel. Then the Prophet Jeremiah said unto the Prophet Hananiah in the presence of the Priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the House of the Lord. Even the Prophet Jeremiah said, So be it: the Lord so do, the Lord confirm thy words which thou hast prophesied, to restore the vessels of the Lord’s house, and all that is carried captive from Babel, into this place. But hear thou now this word that I will speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people. The Prophets that have been before me, and before thee in time past, prophesied against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of plagues, and of pestilence. And the Prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the Prophet shall come to pass, then shall the Prophet be knosn that the Lord hath truly sent him. Then Hananiah the Prophet took the yoke from the Prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it. And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, from the neck of all nations within the space of two years: and the Prophet Jeremiah went his way. Then the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the Prophet, (after that Hananiah the Prophet had broken the yoke from the neck of the Prophet Jeremiah) saying, Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Thou hast broken the yokes of wood, but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar King of Babel: for they shall serve him, and I have given him the beasts of the field also. Then said the Prophet Jeremiah, unto the Prophet Hananiah, Hear now Hananiah, the Lord hath not sent thee, but thou makes this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will cast thee from the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast spoken rebelliously agaisnt the Lord. So Hananiah the Prophet died the same year in the seventh month. Jeremiah 27:1–28:17
- Then being justified by faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also through faith we have had this access into his grace wherein we stand, and rejoice under the hope of the glory of God. Neither that only, but also we rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation bringeth forth patience. And patience experience, and experience hope. And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the holy Ghost, which is given unto us. For Christ, when we were yet of no strength, at his time died for the ungodly. Doubtless one will scarce die for a righteous man: but yet for a good man it may be that one dare die. But God setteth out his love towards us, seeing that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life, And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have no received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death went over all men: in whom all men have sinned. For unto the time of the Law was sin in the world, but sin is not imputed, while there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them also that sinned not after the like manner of the transgression of Adam, which was the figure of him that was to come. But yet the gift is not so as is the offense: for if through the offense of that one, may be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Neither is the gift so, as that which entered in by one sinned: for the fault came of one offense unto condemnation: but the gift is of many offenses to justification. For if by the offense of one, death reigned through one, much more shall they which receive that abundance of grace, and of that gift of that righteousness, reign in life through one, that is, Jesus Christ. Likewise then, as by the offense of one, the fault came on all men to condemnation, so by the justifying of one, the benefit abounded toward all men to the justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by that obedience of that one, shall many also be made righteous. Moreover, the Law entered thereupon, that the offense should abound: nevertheless, where sin abounded, there grace abounded much more: That as sin had reigned unto death, so might grace also reign by righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:1–21
- Wine is a mocker, and strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby, is not wise. The fear of the King is like the roaring of a lion: he that provoketh him unto anger sinneth against his own soul. It is a man’s honor to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. The slothful will not plow, because of winter: therefore shall he beg in summer, but have nothing. The counsel in the heart of man is like deep waters: but a man that hath understanding, will draw it out. Many men will boast every one of his own goodness: but who can find a faithful man? He that walketh in his integrity, is just, and blessed shall his children be after him. A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment, chaseth away all evil with his eyes. Who can say, I have made mine heart clean, I am clean from my sin? Divers weights, and divers measures, both these are even abomination unto the Lord. A child also is known by his doings, whether his word be pure and right. The Lord hath made both these, even the ear to hear, and the eye to see.. Proverbs 20:1–12