And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.
It is not everybody that God saves from trouble every time. Some He will save, others He will merely empower and then commit to the fight, because He trusts in their ability to conquer and thereby enlarge their own territory. What is the point of all the coaching if He should shield them every time from every challenge, even those that should promote them into world champions? No matter the reputation of his trainer, no boxer earns a title merely from the training.
The territory you possess through won combats is often more precious and more personal than any territory, no matter how large, that you may get as a concession. What you earn is yours, what you receive, is less. What you get as a “dash,” you may never value. Besides, someone could stand up to challenge your claims to it any day. The certificate you get from an exam you have toiled for, can never be the same as an honorary degree handed down from some university. Not many will give you a job based solely on an honorary degree. That is why God does not deliver us from all troubles, but allows us to fight some.
Did God know about the troubles of Job before they came? Yes. Why did He not prevent that holy man from the conflict? It was because He trusted in Job’s ability to overcome, and so to enlarge his territory. Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” How did Jesus respond to that? Did He save Peter from the fight? No. He simply told him, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31-32). Hestrengthened him. The natural man would think that that was not fair, but Jesus saw a glory that was going to come out of the impending confrontation; He saw that Peter was going to come out of it; that he was going to come out even stronger; so strong that he would become a source of strength to his brethren who may even have thought themselves superior to him, not having had his shameful kind of fall. Satan had thrown a challenge; “Satan hath desired” to have Peter. The Master Coach did not turn down Satan the Challenger; He was only going to prepare His champion for the conflict. “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith [strength] fail not,” He told Peter. The same announcement that told of the coming scheme of the enemy also proclaimed a fresh and higher commission for Peter, to “strengthen thy brethren.” However, that was a promotion that Peter was going to get into, only through the passage of the coming conflict.
Jesus found himself in the wilderness not because He lacked the anointing. He was “full of the Holy Ghost.” He was led there not by His own vanity. He was “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1). When the Father announced over the loudspeakers in the arena of River Jordan, “This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17), He was strengthening His Champion for the approaching combat. If Jesus had been spared from that contest, the world would never have been complete.
Paul had a problem about which he prayed as many as three times to God. He described the problem as a “thorn in the flesh.” Did God hear him? Yes. Did God answer him? Yes. Did God grant his request? No. God merely told him, “I have reasons why I will not save you from this fight. I will only strengthen you for it. ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’” (2 Corinthians 12:7,9)
To be cont'd
From The Preacher's diary.