When Trials Come (Part 3 of 3)James 1:2-4
Trials bring pain and often leave us at a loss. Few would choose to suffer. But when we view trials from the right perspective, we realize there’s something valuable to be gained in the process. Learn more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.
He is not afraid of bad news.Psalm 112:7
Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?
Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?
Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.
How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2
1) Exodus 14:13
2) John 14:27
David and Bathsheba
1In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
6So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 12Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
14In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 18Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting. 19And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, 20then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”
22So the messenger went and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall. Some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” 25David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”
26When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
The Light of the Gospel
1Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice2 cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants3 for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self4 is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
The Soul Who Sins Shall Die
1The word of the Lord came to me: 2“What do you1 mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? 3As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
5“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right—6if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8does not lend at interest or take any profit,2 withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.
10“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11(though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor's wife, 12oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.
14“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife, 16does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17withholds his hand from iniquity,3 takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father's iniquity; he shall surely live. 18As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.
19“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
21“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.
25“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
30“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.4 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
My Soul Waits for God Alone
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
3How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
My Soul Thirsts for You
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
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