The story of the rich young man always catches my attention. The disciples (much like us) thought material wealth was a sign of God's favor. They were amazed when Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” They thought earthly wealth was evidence of the kingdom of God and His blessing. In the analogy of the camel passing through the eye of a needle, Jesus is saying it is impossible for a man on his own to be saved. Thank the LORD; nothing is impossible for God! The disciples ask, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus bluntly says, "With man it is impossible." Why is it impossible with man? The Bible tells us what we need is a new heart. How can I give myself a new heart? Jesus says, "You must be born again." How can I cause myself to be born again? Thank God this is not impossible for Him. All things are possible with God; even new hearts and new birth!
"This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One."
In Job 4:7-8, Eliphaz gives his perspective of why people suffer. He believes Job is suffering because of sin and godlessness. Eliphaz has no explanation for suffering except as a punishment for sin. He had no category in which to place a righteous individual's suffering.
Job answers Eliphaz's charge. In Job 4:7 Eliphaz asks, "Were the upright cut off?" In Job's response, he uses the same Hebrew word for "cut off," when he says "I have not denied the words of the Holy One." The Hebrew word "cut off" and "denied" are identical. Job is declaring his innocence. He has not "cut off" God's word. He is not being punished because of his sin.
I am so thankful for Jesus' explanation of suffering in John 9:1-3, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." There is a category for suffering that has nothing to do with sin. It is for the glory of God.
Jesus, You are the Holy and Righteous One, yet You suffered greatly. Forgive me for easily thinking like Eliphaz. Thank You for Your example and Job's.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
This verse reminds me of Isaiah 55:10-11, one of my favorite passages in scripture: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
God promises that His Word precisely accomplishes what He intends. His Word always succeeds. We know this is definitely true for His Living Word. Jesus, God’s Living Word, repeatedly stated His purpose was to fulfill the Father's will which we know He accomplished perfectly. Why would I struggle with believing His written Word would not equally accomplish what His Living Word accomplished?
Since faith, the channel through which God provides eternal life, comes from hearing God's Word, why would I speak anything else? Why would I give counsel and advice based on my experience or reasoning, instead of God's Word?
Almighty Sovereign LORD, thank You for accomplishing everything You purpose. Use me as one who faithfully speaks Your Word instead of my own.