Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 20 March 21:
Psalm 34 – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all…. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
The Bible is more than clear, afflictions in this life will be many, even for the righteous – and Jesus said, even more for the righteous – “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted….” (2 Timothy 3:12) “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The difference for the Christian is our perspective on afflictions, our strength through afflictions, our response to afflictions, and the outcome of our afflictions:
Our perspective on afflictions: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28-29)
- Philippians 3:10 — “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death….”
- Psalm 119:67 — Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
- Isaiah 48:10 — Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
- Psalm 119:75 — I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Our strength through afflictions: “My soul makes its boast in the Lord.” (Psalm 34:2)
- Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
- Isaiah 43:2 — When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
- Proverbs 18:10 — The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
- Nehemiah 8:10 — Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
- Isaiah 41:10 — So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Exodus 15:2 — The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him– my father’s God, and I will exalt him!
- 2 Corinthians 1:4 — …who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Our response to afflictions: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6 — And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
- Romans 5:3–4 — “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
- Psalm 34:1b–3 — “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”
The outcome of our afflictions: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
- 2 Corinthians 4:8 — We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair….
- Proverbs 24:16 — for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17 — For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison….
- James 1:2-4 — Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 Mar 21: Don’t be surprised by afflictions. Don’t misinterpret your afflictions. Pray for a godly perspective on your afflictions, God’s strength through your afflictions, faith, hope, confidence, peace and joy through your afflictions, and that you would glorify God to others through your response to afflictions. Also, remember that God doesn’t want us to go through afflictions alone but wants us to be supported by other Christians. Going through afflictions is a time to draw closer to God and His people, not further away.