Tag Archives: opposition
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. (ch. 3)
This is a clear command from the Apostle: “REJOICE in the Lord!” I don’t know about you, but I find it quite easy to rejoice in my circumstances (when things are going well), to be happy when I’m around my grandchildren, to be really satisfied when I’m lucky enough to win a tennis match. And I’m not sure the Lord is displeased with my reactions. He has made our world, which includes our circumstances, families, and leisure activities.
But how, specifically, am I to REJOICE “in the Lord”? What does that mean? In the context here Paul is reminding these believers that there is opposition to the gospel and they are not to lose their JOY as they live for Jesus. He describes that opposition as “those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh”! Those Judaizers had taken something precious (the Old Testament sign of God’s covenant with Israel — circumcision) and twisted it into something legalistic, works-oriented, and in direct contradiction to the gospel of grace!
In fact Paul confronts their error by saying “we are the circumcision, we who — (1) serve God by His Spirit, (2) boast in Christ Jesus, and (3) who put no confidence in the flesh”! True circumcision means believing the gospel and serving the Lord Jesus with all one’s might!
To REJOICE in the Lord means to keep on keeping on. It means to know one’s opposition and continue to share the grace of the Lord Jesus anyway. This confidence, not in ourselves, but in God Himself, brings JOY. Would you say this is true in your life today?
As we continue our study of I Samuel, we look at the second half of chapter 10. We read in verse 9 that “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.” Remember Samuel’s prophesy in verse 6 that “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”
In this section, Saul leaves Samuel and the prophecy about Saul’s joining the procession of prophets comes true (v. 10). The question is asked by those who knew Saul — “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (v. 11).
Saul reports their finding the donkeys to his uncle, but doesn’t tell him about the kingship (vv. 12-16).
Samuel summons and addresses all Israel at Mizpah. He rehearses their deliverance by God from Egypt and says, “But now you have rejected your God [in demanding a human king]” (v. 19).
A public process of selection takes place — but Saul is nowhere to be found! He has hidden himself among the supplies (v. 22).
Samuel announces Saul as king, explains the rights and duties of kingship, writing them down on a scroll (v. 25). The people are dismissed. Saul goes to his home in Gibeah, “accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched” (v. 26). But some “scoundrels” said, “How can this fellow save us?” (v. 27). They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent (v. 27).
A big part of the Christian life is getting changed, right? God changed Saul’s heart (v. 9), just as Samuel had predicted (“and you will be changed into a different person”, v. 6). God is into changing hearts, isn’t He?
God sovereignly has Saul prophesy with the procession of the prophets (v. 10).
Samuel charges Israel with rejecting God as their king, but conducts a public selection anyway. When the lot falls on Saul, he is hiding among the supplies. This seems to be a genuine expression of humility (or fear), a characteristic that will elude him later in his reign.
Although Saul is accompanied by “valiant men whose hearts God had touched,” we are also told of a segment of beginning opposition to Saul’s rule.
God works through fallible human beings, giving in to their demands to be like the other nations. The kingship begins.
In our previous post, we used our “sanctified imagination” to speculate about the Father and Lazarus having a conversation in heaven. Let’s return to our text and notice the last section of this amazing story …..
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.
There was a clear reaction to Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead. Some “believed in him” (v. 45). Others reported Jesus’ action to the religious leaders who then called a special meeting of the Sanhedrin (vv. 46-47).
We get to listen in on their deliberations. They acknowledge Jesus’ “many signs” and fear the Romans will step in and limit the freedoms they enjoyed from their occupiers.
Caiaphas, that year’s high priest, makes an incredible statement: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (v. 50).
God’s Spirit has power even over those who would seek to destroy the Lord! This miracle of raising Lazarus seems to be the work of Jesus which seals His fate. (to be continued)