Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“A Lengthened Leash”

   "We would have come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again, but Satan hindered us" (I Thessalonians 2:18).
    Two of the Apostle's Paul's New Testament letters might not exist had the devil not blocked Paul from journeying to his brethren in Thessalonica.  Nor might they have been written had the Apostle given into to frustration and despair because God lengthened Satan's leash to allow him to hinder a seemingly good thing.

    "Overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).  The Christian life involves ongoing challenges by our spiritual enemies.  The conflict provides opportunity to overcome rather than to be overwhelmed.  When we trust and submit ourselves to God in our trials, He may work in a manner that seems to indicate the devil's hindrances succeed "once and again."  Trouble often endures as our Heavenly Father's determinations and allowances often puzzle and even bewilder our minds.  No less than the Psalmist cried out in such anguish.  "O God, how long shall the adversary reproach?  Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name forever?  Why withdrawest Thou Thy hand, even Thy right hand?  Pluck it out of Thy bosom!" (Psalm 74:10-11).

    Why does God not move His hand to deliver?   In Paul's case, the Lord's hand was busy in writing, namely, in leading His servant to compose a blessed portion of the New Testament.  Again, Satan's hindrances almost certainly necessitated the Apostle's need to communicate to the Thessalonians by pen rather than face to face.  You and I, along with believers through two millennia, thus possess words of God that would not grace our hearts, minds, and lives had the Lord plucked His hand out of His bosom to block the devil's hindrance.  

    Let us think of this the next time we read the epistles to the Thessalonians.  Then apply the truth we presently consider to our own lives.  Might our enemy's challenges and oppressions be the means by which God purposes to shine forth His light in a brighter and more brilliant measure than an untroubled and unhindered path would allow?  We can be quite sure this is the case.  A lengthened leash that allows devilish involvement provides opportunity for a luminous Light that "shineth in darkness" (John 1:5).  Portions of the very Word of God exist through this puzzling but perfect way in which our Lord reveals His glory by using even His enemies' actions to fulfill His great and glorious purposes…

"And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain.  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a sepulcher.  But God raised Him from the dead."
(Acts 13:28-30)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.  But we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
(I John 3:2)

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