Light affliction

Our Light Affliction

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

After your weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world – could you please take a moment to read and consider this deep thought from 2 Corinthians 4:17?

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Light affliction

Years ago I read about an unemployed man in Tokyo who created a job for himself. He dressed in protective padding and let people on the streets of Tokyo wear boxing gloves and beat him for three minutes. He made $10 a turn and said, “I enjoy being used as a punching bag, it’s… another way to experience life. I want to continue as long as my body holds up.”

As we serve God, sometimes we feel like a punching bag. We don’t seek this out, and when we face the bumps and bruises of ministry, we want them to heal as quickly as possible. Paul bore many afflictions (2 Corinthians 6:45), and probably didn’t enjoy them. Yet he saw value in them, and estimated them to be light afflictions.

How can we see our affliction as light when it seems so heavy?

Our affliction is light compared to what others are suffering. No matter how bad we have it, there are many others who suffer worse.

Our affliction is light compared to what we deserve. We often don’t like to think about it, but haven’t we sinned against God again and again? Jesus learned through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Perhaps God wants to use a season of affliction to teach me something.

Our affliction is light compared to what Jesus suffered for us. There is simply no comparison between what we are going through and all Jesus suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically – and all for us, not for Himself.

Our affliction is light compared to the blessings we enjoy. We often ask, “why do I deserve this?” But that question applies to our times of blessing, which are actually far greater than our afflictions.

Our affliction is light compared to the sustaining power of God’s grace. He can and does strengthen us, as we humbly receive His help, no matter how He brings it to us.

Our affliction is light compared to the glory it leads to. God has eternal glories to work in us through our present affliction – including the bumps and bruises the belong to ministry. Those eternal glories are a greater prize than anything we can see on earth.

Your afflictions are real. Yet comparatively, they are light. Rest in Him, rest in that today.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Enjoy the feast

Enjoy the Feast, Tell the News

Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.” (2 Kings 7:9)

It’s one of my favorite scenes in the Bible. Four miserable lepers cautiously approached the camp of the mighty Syrian army, who had held the capital city of the northern tribes of Israel under siege and near complete starvation. As the lepers crept towards the camp, they noticed no guard was there to meet them. As they kept walking it became clear that the camp was empty, and all the soldiers had left suddenly.

Enjoy the feast

What the lepers only found out later was that God miraculous sent the sound of a big army approaching into the ears of the Syrian soldiers (2 Kings 7:6-7). Panicked, the soldiers ran for their lives, taking nothing with them, leaving everything in the camp.

The lepers peeked into tents and saw no one, but they saw tables covered in food and drink. They saw trunks and boxes filled with fancy clothing and treasure. They won the lottery of all the spoil of a huge army camp, and it was all theirs (2 Kings 7:8).

The starving men ate and drank until they couldn’t eat more. They tried on the fancy clothes and hid some of the treasure. It was a little piece of salvation, of heaven on earth, for four unlikely lepers.

Suddenly, something came to mind. They said, “we are not doing right.” They remembered there was a starving city, filled with people on the edge of death. They were rescued; the starving city was unaware. They battle was over, the victory won, all was provided, and the king and the people of Samaria didn’t even know it.

So they said, “come, let us go and tell.” The lepers rightly enjoyed God’s miracle. But they also realized that the gift gave them a responsibility to share it with others. They understood that to remain silent and to selfishly enjoy their blessings was a sin. They were responsible to share the good news, and it would be wrong if they did not tell others, “the battle is over, the victory won, and all is provided.”

Yet, make no mistake: they enjoyed the feast first before they told others about it.

Here’s a two-point plan for you: (1) Enjoy the feast of what God has given to you in the good news of who Jesus is and what He did for you. (2) Find a way to tell a starving world about it. Remember, this day is a day of good news.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 7

windows of heaven

Der Preis für Unglauben

Da antwortete der Offizier, auf dessen Arm sich der König stützte, dem Mann Gottes und sprach: Siehe, selbst wenn der HERR Fenster am Himmel machte, wie könnte dies geschehen? Er aber sprach: Siehe, dur wirst es mit eigenen Augen sehen, aber nicht davon essen! (2. Könige 7,2)

Samaria, die Hauptstadt des Königreichs Israel, wurde belagert und war dem Hungertod nahe. Die syrische Armee wartete nur darauf, dass sie aufgaben.

windows of heaven

Dann verkündete der Prophet Elisa die Verheißung Gottes: innerhalb von 24 Stunden sollte die Hungersnot in Samaria ins Gegenteil umgekehrt werden. Anstatt zu hungern sollten sie solch einen Überfluss haben, dass die Lebensmittelpreise radikal fallen würden.

Darauf sagte der nicht namentlich genannte Offizier spöttisch und ungläubig: „Siehe, selbst wenn der HERR Fenster am Himmel machte, wie könnte dies geschehen?“ Es ist richtig, dass wir nicht allzu schnell großen Versprechungen glauben sollten, die Menschen machen, aber wir sollten immer glauben, was Gott verspricht. Doch der Offizier des Königs zweifelte an der Prophezeiung, und sein Zweifel war in vielfacher Hinsicht falsch.

Er zweifelte an der MachtGottes. Wenn Gott gewollt hätte, hätte er natürlich Fenster am Himmel machen können und daraus Essen auf die hungernde Stadt fallen lassen können.

Er zweifelte an der KreativitätGottes. Für den Offizier war der einzige Weg, dass die Stadt Essen bekommen würde, von oben – aus Fenstern am Himmel. Er hatte keine Vorstellung davon, dass Gott auf komplett unerwartete Weise dafür sorgen konnte.

Er zweifelte an dem BotschafterGottes. Es war eine große Verheißung, doch der Offizier hätte sie glauben sollen, denn sie kam von einem Mann, der schon viele Male bewiesen hatte, dass er zuverlässig war.

Der Offizier des Königs sprach die Sprache des Unglaubens fliessend.

  • Unglaube sagt: „Gottes Verheißung stimmt vielleicht nicht.“
  • Unglaube sagt: „Das ist etwas Neues und kann nicht wahr sein.“
  • Unglaube sagt: „Das kommt zu plötzlich und wird nicht passieren.“
  • Unglaube sagt: „Es gibt keinen Weg, das zu erreichen.“
  • Unglaube sagt: „Es gibt nur einen Weg, wie Gott das machen kann.“
  • Unglaube sagt: „Selbst wenn Gott etwas tut, wird es nicht reichen.“

Durch Elisa teilt Gott dem Offizier sein hartes Gericht für seinen Unglauben mit. Er würde sehen, wie sich die Verheißung erfüllte, aber er würde nicht davon essen.

Unglauben beraubt uns so vieler Dinge, doch eins der schlimmsten davon ist, wenn wir das Glück und die Zufriedenheit, wenn sich Gottes Verheißungen erfüllen, nicht genießen können.

Behandel Unglauben wie den Eindringling, Betrüger und Dieb, der er wirklich ist.

Perfect Logic

Perfect Logic

Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:3-4)

The city of Samaria was under siege and near total starvation. God promised to turn the situation around within 24 hours, and these verses explain the start of how God did it. Remarkably, God used four lepers to change everything – but first something had to change in the lepers.

Perfect Logic

These four lepers stayed at the entrance of the gate because they were not welcome in the city. Their leprous condition made them outcasts and untouchables. Sitting there, they asked an important question: “Why are we sitting here until we die?

Their logic was perfect. They would soon die from the famine if they stayed by the city. If any food became available, they would certainly be the last to receive it. So they decided that their chances were better if they surrendered to the Syrian army.

The men understood that nothing would change until they changed something. If they stayed where they were, they would surely die. If they surrendered to the Syrian army, they might also die. But “might die” is a better chance than “will surely die.” In this case it was certainly better to do something instead of nothing.

This perfect logic applies in many situations, but in particular it applies spiritually and eternally. There are two possibilities for every human being. You can do nothing and you will certainly perish, and suffer the fate common to all who refuse to repent, believe, and seek God in Jesus Christ. Or, you can do something. Perhaps you fear that it won’t work to repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ for now and eternity. But remember: the other option – the option of doing nothing – means you will certainly perish.

The great news is that while the four lepers had no promise of rescue if they surrendered to the Syrian army, every person has the firm promise of Jesus Christ that they will be rescued if they surrender to the Savior. Jesus said in John 6:37, the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. The lepers didn’t have promise of being welcomed, but you do. Make use of some perfect logic.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 7