“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Our selected verse today is a kind of summary of the promises in Romans 8:1-27. We can fully understand if we view it in light of these verses.
- For all who are in Christ Jesus there is now no condemnation (verses 1–8).
- All are indwelt by that Spirit who will even raise their bodies (verses 9–11).
- They are assured that they are God’s children, and his heirs (verses 14–16).
- Present suffering for Christ promises one day they will share his glory (verse 18).
- The new heaven and earth are promised and with groaning are looked forward to (verses 19–22).
- They also groan as they eagerly await their promised adoption (verses 23–25).
- In all their weaknesses the Holy Spirit helps them always interceding for them in harmony with God’s will, (verses 26, 27).
This is in the providence of God which is his purposeful sovereignty by which He will successfully achieve his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence puts his plans into action, guides all toward his definitive goal. God sovereignly superintends every event in a believer’s life—even suffering, temptation, and sin—to accomplish our temporal and eternal benefit.
“But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ” Haggai 2:4 (NASB)
The people of Israel had been held captive in Babylon. After 70 years they were allowed to return to the land and to Jerusalem. One of their foremost jobs was to rebuild Jerusalem which included the walls, and the temple. It was not an easy task and they meet resistance. Led by Nehemiah, the walls were restored but the temple remained in ruins. These words were from God through His prophet Haggai. These are words of encouragement that can encourage us today as well. The had begun the rebuilding of the temple according to instructions from God. The work was hard, and it wasn’t long, about a month, they needed encouragement to press on keeping on. We too find ourselves needing encouragement to continue the work God has given to us. To the people then and to us today, God says, “Be strong…and work. I am with you.” “Take courage” is another way of saying “Be strong.” We can count on this promise God is with us. With a world that is increasingly hostile to God and those who believe in Him, we can be encouraged to know that God is with us.
“ Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. ” – John 4:34 (ESV)
t was a common for the priorities of Jesus to be very different than the concerns of his disciples. Jesus, hearing how his activity in Judea was stirring up interest, he heads out of the region to avoid conflict with the powers in Jerusalem. He makes his way from to Galilee using the road through Samaria. An unusual route for a Jew but not for Jesus. He did so to be at Jacob’s well at just the right time of day. Jesus had an appointment with divine destiny in meeting the Samaritan woman, to whom He would reveal His messiahship. While waiting, the disciples go into a nearby town for food. They return just as Jesus’ conversation with the woman is finished. Having brought Him food, they offer it and encourage him to eat. But Jesus speaks of “food” differently than what the disciples did for him. For Jesus, fulfilling the will of His Father was more important to him than taking care of a passing physical need. That is what He lived for. He wanted his disciples and He wants us to recognize that God’s purposes and works have s a higher priority than satisfying even important physical needs.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” – Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Of what truth do you have such confidence that nothing and no one is able to dissuade you from your belief? A common crisis for many is the struggle to believe the promises of God. Especially that His care for them and their lives are untouchable by the enemy. The good work, the good and blessed outcome promised by God will happen according to His promise in today’s verse. It’s a process. It takes time. In fact, it will take the rest of our earthly lives before God completes the good work He has begun in each of us. We can absolutely trust that absolute truth.
Warren Wiersbe writes about the battle for God’s truth “God works in this world through the truth of His Word, and (our evil enemy) Satan opposes this truth by substituting his lies. Human nature is prone to believe a lie and resist the truth. Satan accomplishes his best work through people in so-called Christian institutions (churches, schools, etc.) who do not believe God’s truth.”* Each time the truth of God is spoken, heard, read, and studied, the enemy uses lies to steal it away from us by tempting us to doubt God’s truth.
*Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 2:201.