“Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 HCSB
Jesus tells us in the gospels that we are not to fear those who can kill the body, but only He who can condemn the soul. It seems to me here that Paul is saying not only that, but also not to seek revenge, because God will not let such things stand.
“On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
1 Corinthians 2:7-8 HCSB
The truth in this cannot be understated. God made His will and plans known long before Jesus came, but He chose to make it hidden from most – and by most I mean the rulers of the age, the kings and high priests, and even emperor of Rome because had they known the truth about Jesus, they never would have gone through with their plans.
I see this at work today. It seems like everyone is looking for a sign, saying the end is coming and Jesus is at hand. If it were that easy, everyone would repent and the whole of Revelation would not be fulfilled. I know He is coming, and I am secure in that faith. All I can do now is try to lead others as best I can.
“For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 HCSB
I feel like we are in this age again. An age of science, where if something can’t be proven, it can’t be real. I get frustrated at this, in fact just last night it was my prayer surrounding this, that the world would see God’s power, especially through this Corona virus pandemic. That the world would turn to Him and stop looking to science for all the answers. But as I write this I am convicted. The Jews in Jesus’ time wanted a sign. I believe and have faith, but I want it to be easy to evangelize and bring about a big miracle to turn people to Him. He wants people through faith and faith alone.
“Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered. As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.” Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant? ” “Yes,” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die! ” So the Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals? ””
Jonah 4:6-11 HCSB
I’m not sure what to make of Jonah, the man. He runs from God because he does not want to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, but finally relents after a terrible storm that almost swamped his entire ship. Then he sees that God accepts their repentance and becomes angry. Then the Lord shows him mercy by sending him a plant, but then destroys the plant, and he becomes angry again. It seems that he doesn’t get that God cares for all people, and wants them to do what is right. If we see our wrongs and turn from them, He is faithful to forgive us, just as he did the people of Nineveh.
“Then God saw their actions — that they had turned from their evil ways — so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.”
Jonah 3:10 HCSB
I read this and am reminded of how, in the gospels, Jesus tells His generation that the only sign they will receive is the sign of Jonah, meaning He will be buried for three days and then will be raised from the dead. Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish before coming ashore. The people of Nineveh listened to God’s word and repented, and were saved.
“but as for me, I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving. I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation is from the Lord!”
Jonah 2:9 HCSB
I am going through a really rough patch as I read this. So much so that I found myself just yesterday evening crying out to the Lord in my distress. Today I read this and see that no matter how bad things get – Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days, after all – I must still offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, and that is what I will do.
“Then they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. The men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.”
Jonah 1:15-16 HCSB
Jonah told the men on the ship why the sea was raging against them and that the only way to make it stop was for them to throw him into the sea. I don’t know that Jonah truly wanted this, but it happened all the same. What I find interesting is how the Lord used this storm on the sea to not only get Jonah on the right track, but also to bring glory to His name.
“Disagreeing among themselves, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit correctly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your ancestors when He said, Go to these people and say: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive. For the hearts of these people have grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted, and I would heal them. Therefore, let it be known to you that this saving work of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen! ””
Acts 28:25-28 HCSB
The gospel has always been intended for the Jewish people, sadly many of them have chosen not to believe, something that was foretold by Isaiah. From there it went to the Gentiles.
“The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners so that no one could swim away and escape. But the centurion kept them from carrying out their plan because he wanted to save Paul, so he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to follow, some on planks and some on debris from the ship. In this way, everyone safely reached the shore.”
Acts 27:42-44 HCSB
Jesus had spoken to Paul and told him that he was to go to Rome and preach. The devil put many obstacles in his way, but the Lord got Paul through all of them, and encouraged him along the way. So it is with me. I can get discouraged, and it can be hard to wait on the Lord, but I can’t let that happen. I have to be patient and ask Jesus to give me encouragement.
“For the king knows about these matters. It is to him I am actually speaking boldly. For I am convinced that none of these things escapes his notice, since this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily? ” “I wish before God,” replied Paul, “that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am — except for these chains.””
Acts 26:26-29 HCSB
What I see here is Paul, who has obviously been detained and imprisoned, is still looking to serve Jesus first. He is obviously forgiving anyone who has caused him this trouble, and instead wants them to have eternal life. I hope and pray that I can be like Paul and forgive my persecutors and hope for them to have the greatest gift of all, which is eternal life.