All our readings today convey Illustrations of the “rescue” of “the godly” – those who are striving to serve God – or who are being used by God for this purpose despite their imperfections. In Judges ch. 15 we read of Samson who, despite his weaknesses of character in certain situations, God used in defeating the Philistines. Samson gets mentioned in the list of examples of those showing “faith” in Hebrews 11 (v.32).
Then in Isaiah ch. 38 we read of the good king Hezekiah’s God-given recovery after he “turned his face to the wall and prayed …. ‘Please, O LORD, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.’ ” [v.2,3] Would we be able to pray using those words?
Verse 17 is thought challenging; after his recovery, Hezekiah says, “Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. ” God can cause ‘bad’ things to happen for a ‘good’ purpose – but this is only recognised as we look back. Truly Paul observed, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according tohis purpose.” [Rom. 8 v.28] and Paul told the Philippians, ” it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” [2 v.13]
This brings us to points Peter makes in his 2nd epistle; we read of “righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked” [2 v.7] We can experience distress ourselves for this reason. Do we have feelings of “distress” at times? Peter says, “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly.” [v.9] We have read of examples. As our world becomes ever more evil, we should take to heart our reading of Peter’s warning about those who “entice bysensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. ” [v.18] Peter says how such, “promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.” What kind of freedom?
Finally we note Peter’s warning to believers that “if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, (and) they are again entangled in them and overcome, their last state has become worse for them than the first. ” [v.20]
Then Peter adds. “it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.” [v.21] May we who have learnt “the way of righteousness” read and then absorb the lessons of that “way” day after day. Finally we ponder what will be the nature of the “rescue of the godly” as around us we see “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” [Luke 21 v.26]
By Bro D.Caudery
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