Archive for the ‘encouragement’ Category

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Thoughts of the Father

March 27, 2009

This struck me while reading John Owen’s Mortification of Sin (131, Crossway 2006). Luke 15:11-13a (emphasis mine)

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country

We find ourselves in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. Notice how the son abandons the father and goes to a far country.

Luke 15:17-20a

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father.

Now notice the son, just by remembering the father and the father’s generosity. The son also understands the deep grace of his father, being willing to return such a great distance. And on the way back from this far country he has no money, no food yet he is sustained by the thought of the father. And he thought only of being a servant, not a son again!

How much more should we be sustained by thoughts of our Heavenly Father as we seek to follow our Lord Jesus through this life to live with Him forever as His adopted son, sharing in the great inheritance of our brother Jesus. It is worth so much more than this ragged, hungering, dirty, sin-stained walk through this far country.

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The unknown people

June 4, 2008

The longer I’m at seminary the more I wonder where all these men of God go once they graduate. The vast majority serve small churches where they do not receive recognition. I thought I’d read 2 Kings 5, a story where the unnamed are important.

Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.” (2 Kings 5:1-4, NASB)

There are three people, mostly unnoticed, that this story hinges on. The first two, above, are the wife of Naaman, a Syrian commander, and her Israelite servant. The faith of the servant appears when she mentions to her mistress the ability of the prophet (Elisha) who is in Samaria. The wife, then, must have mentioned to her husband the servant’s faith and her suggestion to visit the prophet in Samaria.

Naaman visits Elisha and is told just to go wash. Naaman gets angry and leaves because of the simple instructions,

Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:13-14)

Naaman’s servants offer wisdom at this point. They points out that it isn’t a hard thing that Naaman has to do. And if the task Elisha assigned was more difficult then Naaman probably would have gone more quickly to do it. But God heals through faith, not hard work. When Naaman does what Elisha told him, he is healed.

So Naaman’s servants, Naaman’s wife, and Naaman’s wife’s servant all serve God by directing Naaman toward salvation through faith (5:15-19).

May God be with those of us who are servants or wives of great men, may our faith and wisdom glorify God by advising and supporting the great men He has chosen.