It has been a while since I have posted an entry on the Blog due to many different reasons in my life. Nevertheless, I am glad to be back writing again and pray it glorifies the Lord, and is encouraging to those who take the time to read about today’s topic.
Suffering… not a popular topic for us as Christians, or even as humans in general. Who wants to feel pain, whether physically, emotional or mentally? I know for myself I don’t! So why does the Lord over and over in the Bible, reference “suffering” and its necessity in our world? If the Lord chooses to mention something more than once, we should make the effort to look into the topic and become well acquainted with its purpose and context.
In the Book of Exodus, we see the intense suffering of the Israelite nation, under the yoke of slavery in Egypt due to Pharaoh’s fear of their ever increasing population. He sought to enslave them to bring them under subjection, and in turn, reduce their numbers and their strength. But in Exodus 1:12 we read, “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites, ” According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, it says in times of affliction we often see the most church growth, “Being pressed ,it grows.” Christianity, indeed, spreads the most when it’s persecuted, and we will see this demonstrated beautifully in the New Testament in the book of Acts. The Lord hears and sees the intense pain and suffering His people are enduring under Pharaoh, and as a result, He raises up a deliverer for His people in Moses.
“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down the rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” [Exodus 3:7-8] Let’s look at this passage in light of our present day state as people in the world. If we are content in our current state of sinfulness, and there is never any pain or suffering, would we ever know that we are dead in our trespasses and sins? God has something infinitely greater for us than this present world, a relationship with the Creator of the universe and an eternal dwelling place, without pain, fear or suffering in Heaven with Him.
For as Christians, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” [Philippians 3:20] If we have an easy life here on earth, wouldn’t we be content in our state of slavery to sin and the yoke of bondage it places on us? There is truly something greater beyond this physical world in which we are living in. The Lord is removing the world’s influence over us and is preparing for us something far greater than this existence. We, once we accept Christ, become the church, and will be united, like the Israelite nation, and follow Jesus, our present day example of Moses, to the promised land. We find in Hebrews Chapter 8, that when Moses is commanded to build the Tabernacle, that he is commanded to be extremely careful to follow all the details laid out by the Lord. The Tabernacle would serve as an example, or shadow, of what exists for us in Heaven. If you read about the beauty of the Tabernacle as described in Exodus Chapter 25 through 30, you can see the intense detail with which God desires Moses to fashion the Tabernacle after.
Let us consider this idea of a shadow. How much is a shadow a representation of the object creating it? We only get the outline of it typically, and any holes that might be present where light might shine through. Unfortunately, the actual beauty is lost for us when we only see the shadow, but it does serve a purpose in giving a context of what we are observing. I can tell that a person is casting a particular shadow, or the general shape of the object blocking the light. We can see that even Moses himself was a shadow of the true Deliverer, Jesus. Again we know that the Deliverer of the world would come in the form of a man, but He in every way was superior in all things. If Jesus far surpassed Moses, think how much greater our Heavenly home will be in comparison this decaying world we find ourselves in.
“But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to their as the covenant of which He is Mediator in superior to the old one, and is found on better promises.” [Hebrews 8: 6] What is this superior covenant? We only need to read a few verses further in chapter 8 in Hebrews! “ This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor. Or a brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” [Hebrews 8:10-12] I don’t know about you, but this passage is so comforting to me as a believer. God is no longer a distant Entity that I must worship and follow, but He becomes a personal Father, welcoming me into His family through the shedding of Jesus innocent blood. Jesus entered the Most Holy Place, covered in His own blood, shed as an offering to obtain an eternal redemption. “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness, “ [Hebrews 9:22] Unlike, in the Old Testament, with Moses where the sacrifice needed to be continually made for the sins committed by the people, Jesus made His sacrifice once and for all made in the true Tabernacle, Heaven, in the presence of God.
The sacrifice of Jesus is perfect and met all the requirements of the law. If we are children of God, confessing our sins before Him and accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are no longer slaves to sin, under the bondage of this world and its system. Jesus is leading us to the “land flowing with milk and honey,” our blessed future in Heaven.
I pray as you read this dear brother or sister that you are encouraged and are strengthened in your faith. In the next post, I hope to touch on the topic of suffering in the life of the Believer. God bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you and bring you peace.