Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – “Frank” our Neighbor

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

Recently I penned a short post – ECT & Passage 1 – Matthew 5:43-44, 48, in relation to eternal torment. In the post, I asked if a believer may find some condition or circumstance to wreak vengeance on a neighbor. A bit of a foolish question, but bear with me.

Currently, I have superb neighbors, but such was not the case in our past. This story will present to you a neighbor we lived beside years back, and of the mercies (and humor) of the Lord in teaching His children.

I’m going to tell you of a past neighbor, whom I shall call “Frank”, (in order to protect the guilty).

He was a kind fellow at the start, and would refer to my little daughter as a “widdle wabbit”. He kept to himself for the most part, and was without work, being on a disability pension.

I think the descent into madness began when I dug a hole on our property to install a cloths line for my favorite wife. Being in Canada, this hole had to be a minimum of 4 feet deep, to miss the frost line, and the effort was more than I first imagined. After a period of time digging and temporarily placing the excavated material between the hole and the park land to the south. I went in to have supper, letting my wifey know I would set the pole after work on Monday.

Turns out I didn’t get a chance to set the pole, since Monday afternoon I received a call from wifey to come home immediately – the police were in the back yard. Police? On arriving home, I met my wife, two police officers and Frank in the back yard. Frank had filled in the hole with the dirt I had piled to the side, and then called the police to have me charged with trespassing or something silly. Mind you, the pile of dirt was near the public land to the south of our property, but for the life of me, I have no idea why he did this.

In the interest of brevity, what follows is only a few of the highlights of Frank’s acts against our family over the course of three years. He claimed my wife had threatened him and drug her through the court system for a number of months. Please understand, my wife is 5′ 4″ and 110 lbs, dripping wet, while Frank was a 6′ 2″, 240 lb man. He tried multiple methods of intimidating my wife through the courts, though lying about our children, through writing foul letters to our neighbors and signing my name to the letter, through sitting in front of our home with his headlights shining into our bedroom, having the federal police (RCMP) come to our door to question us. You get the idea?

One action that Frank took, though not the most serious, typified his mind set. We had a 4′ hurricane fence between our properties, and he strung barbed wire along the top. He added barbed wire to the little 4′ fir trees on the public land behind his house.

Mind you, we had 5 youngins by this time, and my three oldest boys loved playing in the back yard. What was wrong with this fellow?

During our time in the courts, my wife and I “happened” to be reading the story of David and Saul, and how David would not hurt his king. Out of this reading, we were encouraged greatly to exercise no revenge upon Frank, but to pray for him and to ask the Lord for safety from him.

Don’t misunderstand. We did not consider him to be a chosen king (like Saul), or that he deserved any mercy from anyone. Not at all. What we began to see was our responsibility before God to let God be God and for us to do as He directs His children to do.

A passage that we referred to often through this period is found in Romans 12:17-21.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Many in the neighborhood told us stories after our ordeal, of Frank threatening young children prior to our moving into the neighborhood. It was a difficult time to say the least. At one point, Frank actually phoned into a radio show to complain of the “foreigners” that lived beside him. He ranted about how we should have stayed in our nation of origin, how we were lazy, destructive and of no use. (Both my wife and I have a minimum of five generations in the land of the Great White North.)

Looking back, it is hard to believe of some of this man’s actions toward us. Truly amazing. But as I started this posting, I mentioned the Lord’s humor in all of this trial.

It turns out that after graduating university with my degree – oh yes, this ordeal was going on while I was back in school, spending 60 – 70 hours a week in my studies, that Frank suddenly put his home up for sale. The rumor had it that he wanted to move to a “childless” neighborhood to the north. I am convinced that God had been working behind the scenes and that Frank simply could not find a better solution for his poor troubled soul. Nevertheless, his home sold within a few months, and he eventually moved, but not before seeing our home on the market also.

You see, after receiving my degree, we found employment in the state of Texas. My wife and I had looked to move south for years and an opportunity came up that allowed us to make the jump to a land of sun and heat!

Frank had lost his position of intimidator within the neighborhood, and the story goes that the neighborhood he moved into actually became a young family centric neighborhood. Oodles of little children!

We saw the hand of the Lord many times during this trial, protecting our family, giving us opportunity to speak of the mercy of the Lord, and experiencing a bit of the humor of the Lord. You got to admit, for Frank to sell his house just before us must have been a great frustration to him.

But, the Lord is on His throne. He is watching over His children. He cares and provides, even to the weakest of His followers.

For us, we are to look to the direction He has provided through His word. His witness while He walked on this earth speaks loudly, if we want to hear it. He exercised massive mercy toward those who lied about Him, made outrageous claims against Him, drug Him through the courts, physically beat Him and eventually murdered Him. All the while seeking forgiveness for His very tormentors.

Consider the high calling we have in Jesus. He is our example.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this blog may bless (or challenge), send them a link, so they may join us in our discussion

Come join us at Considering the Bible

Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #235

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #235
Description
He was smitten on the cheeks
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 50:6b
I hid not my face
    from disgrace and spitting.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 26:67
Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him,

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:12

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:12   I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

With this verse we listen in on the apostle Paul’s interpretation of the trials he has entered into, through his travels and the current imprisonment he was experiencing. It is important to understand that Paul wants to encourage his friends with progress in the midst of trials, and not simply for the sake of his friends, but to see through the eyes of Jesus, what is actually happening for the sake of the gospel.

Paul is not going to dwell on his personal sufferings, other than to inform his friends that he is in prison. He does not describe the condition of the prison, the lack of food or clothing, the loneliness or any other aspect that he may be experiencing, since this is not the focus of his message.

Paul is so focused on advancing the gospel, that he does not accept his current condition as a set back, but actually understands the benefit of his imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.

His imprisonment is advancing the gospel.

How crazy is that? How upside down is the kingdom of God in comparison to our modern way of thinking. It is too much for me at times.

In your own life, has there been a set back? A seeming defeat? Consider a refocus.

Story Time

Years back, a brother spoke of the reason the Dead sea is dead. You see, the dead sea receives water from the Jordan, but has no natural outlet and is unable to provide water to any other body of water. There is no outlet from the dead sea, other than by evaporation, which causes all the salts carried by the Jordan to remain in the Dead Sea, making it useless for life.

Life requires expression, an outlet to give to others in order to maintain, even expand our life. Receiving, or focusing only on ourselves, is a great way to die!

Paul looked for an outlet in his circumstances. May we also take on this attitude, and find life in the giving.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 42 – D

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich. I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Forgotten

Psalm 42:9-10

I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

Even in the midst of claiming God has forgotten him, the saint refers to God as his rock. This speaks volumes to me, not in the fact that I am experienced in the depth of this saints trial and the resulting settled conviction. No no no. It is that the saint is possibly accepting the blame of his condition, since God is the never changing, stable, dependable rock of his life. It cannot be God who has changed!

He feels forgotten, and I can definitely relate to this condition. I have felt alone and “abandoned” (I speak as a fool) many periods in my life, and as a testimony, looking back, I realize God was protecting me, guiding me and providing for us as a family. He has not forgotten you, yet at times the feeling of aloneness is unquenchable.

Mockery

On top of the internal struggle of claiming God’s stability in the midst of an emotional low, the saint speaks of his adversaries again, of their oppressions, taunting and mockery. Our psalmist paints a vivid picture of the pain inflicted on him through the taunting. The mockery is as a knife buried deep into his bones, a wound that is intended to kill.

What is the taunting about? Is it about his stature in life, a condition of poverty, a lack of education, minimal skill levels, mental disabilities? The taunting focuses on one central topic.

“Where is your God?”

The saint has definitely claimed to know the living God and at this point, the enemy, with their presupposed understanding of God, interprets the saints condition as being proof that God has abandoned him. Get this if you can. The saint has claimed allegiance to the true God, and the taunting is based on a wrong understanding of God.

This is reminiscent of the siege of Jerusalem when Sennacherib claimed the ability to overthrow the True God since he had overthrown the false gods of the land surrounding Jerusalem. (Consider 2 Chronicles 32:9-15)

The taunting of the enemy was based on lies they believed about the True God. This is often the source of mockery and taunting believers have to endure, and the New Testament addresses a proper response in 2 Timothy 2:24-25

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth

Note that we are not to argue, but to be kind to others, looking to teach truth. It is interesting that Paul speaks of patience in this very verse. We should not teach in a demeaning demanding way but understand we all have need understand our own fallibility. Out of this understanding, a genuine humility towards others allows us to be of a patient teacher, knowing we are of the same frailty of knowing truth.

Refocusing on God

Psalm 42:11

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Finally the saint comes to a summary thoughts, still questioning the condition he finds himself in, even though he has recounted his relationship with God through the good times and bad times. (Albeit, this psalm definitely speaks of the bad times more than most psalms!)

He admits to his downfallen condition, and the turnoil within. Denying his condition and putting on a “happy face” was not a solution based in reality for this saint. Admit the struggle, the truth, and ask the hard questions.

In the end, hope in God, for it is inevitable that the saint shall again praise Him. The saint looks forward to the time of rejoicing, even in the middle of sorrow, struggle and pain. This is a great hope, and the Great Hope is our Lord Jesus, for He does carry us through our trials, as we keep our eyes on Him.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this post may bless, send them a link so they may join us.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #234

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #234
Description
“I gave my back to those who struck Me”
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 50:6a
I gave my back to those who strike,
    and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 27:26
Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Eternal Torment · Hell

ECT & Passage 1 – Matthew 5:43-44, 48

As many of my readers may know, I have been studying the teaching of hell for a few years. I recently picked up a book called Spiritual Terrorism, written by Boyd C Purcell, and as I ventured through the pages, I came across a listing of ten reasons the author considers Eternal Conscience Torment (ECT) as impossible.

Each of the ten reasons are based on a particular passage of Scripture that I propose we consider in relation to this topic. Food for thought for those willing to consider.

Let’s begin with Matthew 5

Matthew 5:43-44, 48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The Unchanging Character of the Father

Although I referred to the book “Spiritual Terrorism” above, I would like to supplement this post with an additional author from two centuries ago. His name is George McDonald, an ol’ Scottish preacher who lived in the 1800’s His writings are challenging and have influenced many believers, such as Lewis Carrol and (through his writings) C.S. Lewis. He is commonly considered a universalist, though he never called himself such.

A short discussion I recently found by Mr. McDonald seems very pertinent to our topic.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect.” “Love your enemies, and ye shall be the children of the highest.” It is the divine glory to forgive.


Yet a time will come when the Unchangeable will cease to forgive; when it will no more belong to his perfection to love his enemies; when he will look calmly, and have his children look calmly too, upon the ascending smoke of the everlasting torments of our strong brothers, our beautiful sisters! Nay, alas! the brothers are weak now; the sisters are ugly now!

His second paragraph is challenging. How can the One who “changes not” change from being a merciful and forgiving God we all have come to know, to One who seeks retribution, suffering for the sake of justice, and misery upon His “enemies”?

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Before my readers bring up the topic of the necessity of judgement, let me admit and confess that I believe the Scriptures on the teaching of the wages of sin being death. I do not seek to remove hell from the Word of God, although my understanding of this topic is continually being challenged.

I confess that even as a believer, I continue to offer up to our Master sadness and heartache with my decisions and actions that do not reflect His character. Hell is a reality and judgement day is approaching for each of us. Personally, I cannot understand the grace and mercy He has provided me so far, but He has been faithful, so faithful to me. To my readers, if you too have experienced the mercy of God in your life, leave a comment below, describing His mercy in your life. It may be the encouragement some soul needs to hear!

Note that He commands believers to be like Him, to forgive, to bless, to love, to pray for those who are our enemies. We are to live this way in order that we may be perfect as He is.

Let me reiterate, that He only is perfect, perfect in those attributes that Jesus speaks of in the passage, attributes of blessing and forgiveness. This command is for believers to pursue, and as we have come to understand the commands of God, they are to be recognized as a reflection of His own character, of His glory and being. It is an amazing teaching the Lord gave to us in this passage, in that He based His command to followers to love and forgive on the very nature of God.

God does not ask us (require of us) that which He does not have within His own nature!

I suppose it comes down to this. Am I limiting the Father’s unchanging nature and character of forgiveness, even through the terrors of hell? Or to consider it from another perspective, is there a set time only for each soul in that His forgiveness is available?

Grudges & Vengeance

One other item to note, is that the very passage the Lord refers to in Matthew 5, (Leviticus 19:18) speaks of the believer not bearing grudges, or taking vengeance. Even in the Old Testament (as we should expect, since He changes not), the nature of the Lord was the foundation of the command for the believer’s actions and heart life toward our neighbors. No grudge is to be nurtured. No vengeance to be exercised.

Leviticus 19:17-18

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

The believer is commanded to enter frank and honest reasoning with their neighbor. What a lost relationship skill in this age of “social” media, but I digress.

How do you see this challenging passage in Matthew? Is there merit to Mr. McDonald’s understanding of the unchanging forgiving nature of the Father? Do you believe the nature and character of the Father will switch from One who forgives to One who seeks vengeance and retribution upon a soul entering death? If so, is there allowance for the believer to also have opportunity to switch from a forgiving spirit to a vengeful spirit?

Let me know, for I have had some whoppers of neighbors (thankfully not currently) that in my opinion, certainly deserved my vengeance!

How do you “see” the Father?


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this blog may bless (or challenge), send them a link, so they may join us in our discussion

Come join us at Considering the Bible

Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #233

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #233
Description
The Servant bound willingly to obedience
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 50:5
The Lord God has opened my ear,
    and I was not rebellious;
    I turned not backward.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 26:39
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #11 – Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son in Nain

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son in Nain

Luke 7:11-17

Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

General Observations

Where in tarnation is Nain? This incredible miracle of raising a dead man wasn’t performed in the City of the Great King, or presented before the hierarchy of the Jewish political and religious bodies, but in a small town north. What is the significance of mentioning Nain at the beginning of this miracle? Turns out, even the geographical references of a miracle bears witness of the greatness of our Leader.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This miracle occurred in front of a great crowd, with His disciples in attendance. At this time, I see no reason to exclude the Pharisees from this group, as they are collecting data for their analysis and judgement in front of the Jerusalem leadership on how they are to react to such a Rabbi.

Also, a considerable crowd from the city was with the funeral procession. Many people were to witness a raising of the dead child!

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

The previous question of where the Lord performed this miracle has become a key for my understanding of this miracle.

You see, Nain is a city that rose up a few miles to the north from the ancient city of Shunem. When I mention Shunem, a number of Old Testament passages may come to mind, but you will not find it referred to in the New Testament. By the first century, Shunem had been abandoned and Nain had risen up in the area.

One of the Old Testament passages that is eye opening for myself is the story of Elisha and the wealthy woman in 2 Kings 4:8

One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food.

Do you remember any particular instance that the people of Nain may recall of the prophet of Elisha, and this woman? As an expression of gratitude for supplying respite at her home Elisha asked his servant Gehazi, what he may do to show his appreciation. She was childless and Elisha spoke of her bearing a son within the next 12 months. She of course refused to believe, but that didn’t stop God from doing as He said.

Interesting background, but the kicker is what happens next. The kid dies! Elisha was used of God to raise the child from the dead and heal the widows broken heart.

Do you see any parallels? By now the miracle of raising this poor woman’s son from the dead by the Lord is becoming increasingly linked to this Old Testament passage. (See 2 Kings 4 for the story of Elisha and the Shummanite woman)

But there are a few differences that make our story instructive.

A Difference of Hope

The Shummanite woman sought out the Prophet Elisha. She had some hope. She had a relationship with the prophet of God and trusted in the God of Israel. She provided for God’s prophet and experienced the miraculous gift of her son.

We don’t know of the woman from Nain, whether she was a believer in the God of Israel before the miracle. Golly, we don’t know if she even became a believer after the miracle. But at the time of the miracle, she had no hope, didn’t expect any help and was in the midst of a deep lonely sorrow over the loss of her only son.

A Difference of Effort

Elisha’s efforts to raise the child for the Shummanite woman was in multiple (failed?) stages. First off, Elisha sent Gehazi, his servant to lay the prophet’s staff on the child’s face, yet the child did not respond. Elisha’s second effort was after he entered the room with the child, and alone with the child, prayed to the Lord, laying his body on the child. This effort produced a warming of the child, but no life. Upon having no success at this time, it appears Elisha became somewhat frustrated, walking back and forth in the house before once more stretching himself upon the child. Upon this third effort, the child was brought back to the land of the living.

Jesus stated seven words. No recorded mention of prayer. No preparation to perform this mighty work. He didn’t even touch the child, but only stopped the procession. Seven words, my friend. Seven words.

Young man, I say to you, arise.

His spoken word has authority. His compassion for this widow in pain delivered the son back to the mother. The comparison of efforts for these two similar miracles is somewhat startling!

A Difference of Receiving

Sometimes a seemingly insignificant detail provides an illuminating truth. Notice that upon the raising of the Shummanitie’s child, Elisha gave direction to the mother. “Pick up your son”. We don’t know the tone of Elisha’s voice, but something tells me he may not have been too approachable at the time.

When the widow from Nain was intercepted by Jesus, the text states He gave him to his mother. Jesus not only raised the child from the dead, but continued His interaction with the mother by formally/physically giving the child to his mother. Compassion extended beyond the miracle.

A Difference in Audience

Elisha, in his efforts to raise the child, performed all his actions alone, behind closed doors. No witnesses.

Jesus performed this miracle amongst two crowds as noted in the introduction, a great crowd that had been travelling with Him, and a considerable crowd associated with the funeral. Many witnesses.

A Difference in Expectation

This may be closely linked to the difference in hope discussed above, but the Shummanite woman sought out Elisha, pushing past Gehazi and grasping the prophet. She flatly stated her frustration with the prophet, blaming him for this “deception” of having a child, only to loose him to death. It isn’t obvious if she had any expectation of Elisha raising her child, but she surely sought out the prophet seeking some kind of remediation.

The poor widow of Nain expected only to see her son lowered into a grave that day. She had no one to blame, criticize or reach out to for consolation that we read of. No husband, no other children, no one to connect with in the middle of her pain.

A Difference of Deliverer

Elisha was one of the paramount prophets of the Old Testament. Although no book of the Bible is named after him, it should not be interpreted as his unimportance. More miracles were performed by Elisha than most any other prophet. A careful reading of his history compared to Elijah, shows he performed twice the number of miracles than his mentor. No small figure in the Old Testament narrative.

Yet Jesus is so much more. He is the One Elisha looked to for his ministry, and He is the One who orchestrated Elisha’s success with raising the child. He knew of this day with the widow of Nain and provided a history for the crowd to connect to, to compare, and to come to a conclusion regarding His status compared with Elisha.

What was the message for the original audience?.

The crowd was struck with fear, and they glorified God due to this mighty work. The crowd understood the miracle by claiming that “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and that “God has visited his people!” Although a positive response to the miracle, I am not convinced this was the intended message.

Consider the background we have discussed above in relation to Elisha’s miracle. In every aspect, Jesus comes out as the greater miracle worker. Aspects of His kindness and compassion explode on the scene for this widow.

Note that the crowd glorified God (although He stood in front of them ) and stated that God had visited his people (even while He walked among them). They did ascribe to Jesus the status of a great prophet, yet how great a prophet? He is upon consideration, much greater in every way than Elisha, their local prophet.

These differences must have echoed in the minds of some of the crowd after the commotion settled, and caused those with any desire to pursue God, to compare this Rabbi with the great prophet Elisha, to question their assumptions and hopefully seek Jesus out. He is certainly One to investigate, for He is not One who leaves a situation without a challenge and a choice.

What is the message for us today?

Many messages occur to me at this time, but I would like to encourage those reading that Jesus may show up at any time. This poor widow of Nain had no expectation of any deliverance on that sad day. She only knew her son was gone and that she was now all alone in the world.

As a parent who has lost a son, I can attest to the pain. Yet as a family, we had each other in our pain. I can not imagine the deep sorrow this poor lady was experiencing, yet in the midst of this great pain, Jesus strolls up to the procession, takes control, and delivers her son back to her.

Dear reader, He has the option to show up in the middle of your greatest pain, yet He is always with us, giving comfort as we seek Him. We may find Him showing up in many ways, but even in the midst of pain, we are to look to Him for guidance and His will, understanding His compassion.

Recall that He was good five minutes before this miracle, while the widow was in pain, and He is good now. He doesn’t change.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this blog may bless (or challenge), send them a link, so they may join us in our discussion

Come join us at Considering the Bible

Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #232

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #232
Description
He is a learned counselor for the weary
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 50:4
The Lord God has given me
    the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
    him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
    he awakens my ear
    to hear as those who are taught.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 7:29
for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
 Matt 11:28-29
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:11

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:11   filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Fruit of Righteousness. It is interesting that Paul speaks of righteousness as a living, growing fruit and not some deed or act or work that is to be dutifully, religiously, ceremonially performed.

This fruit, to carry the metaphor Paul began, finds it sustenance from the root, the Lord Jesus. All nourishment the fruit requires for maturity is from the root alone. Paul desires his church, his friends to be filled with this fruit, to bring glory to God.

Remember, we began this portion of Philippians in verse 9, speaking of Pauls desire for the Philippians love to abound more and more. This fruit of righteousness, in my thinking, is synonymous with a loving sacrificial giving life. This is the nature of our Savior, for He gave all to deliver us.

Paul will return to this teaching over and over again in this letter to his friends. It would be wise for us to mimic the Lord Jesus, through His strength and nourishment and give of ourselves for the sake of others.

In doing so, the fruit will increase. And we will have joy.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.