Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Romans 15:4 -- On Scriptural Hope

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
Romans 15:4

At the beginning of this chapter Paul says that "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak," and he quotes scripture to make his point.  And then he mentions this, helping us understand why.  The answer isn't "because God said so," although that isn't necessarily a bad reason, since he does know more and see farther than we do.  The answer instead, is that God gives us all of these things so that we can have hope.
I really like the phrase "comfort of the scriptures."  I don't think that is the way we usually think of the scriptures.  Often it is rather as an obligation of the scriptures or a confusion of the scriptures.  I think comfort fits though... no matter what we're going through in life, there is a scripture for it.  No matter what happens, God has prepared something... already... to help.  He has seen this moment, and he knows exactly what to say and how to help, and so much of that is right here, in these verses.  In the words of the prophets and everything that God has inspired us to write, throughout history.  It's true that we have to also have some patience, and that's sometimes hard, especially in the worst moments.  But another way to interpret that sentence is "patience (and comfort) of the scriptures."  Maybe some, or a lot, of that patience that we need is in there as well.
Today, no matter what is going on or what we need, let's look for it in the scriptures.  God will help us, with patience, and comfort, and hope.  He loves us more than we can imagine, and his words are waiting to help us, if we will only trust him enough to reach into the scriptures and find them.

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