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Tag: turn

How God Can Turn Your Afflictions Into Good

The faithful man rejects despair and finds hope in the character of God

Written by GodLife on 18/06/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GriefHopeMercySovereigntyLoss


Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead?

2 Samuel 12:18

God’s Word has comforted millions of Bible believers for thousands of years. However, it’s a mistake to think that a fitting Bible passage can completely absorb the pain of losing a loved one in death. Even Jesus, though He embodied all the promises of God (2 Corinthians 1:20) and knew in advance that He would raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:11), wept with sorrow at the grave of His friend (John 11:35-36). The loss of a child is especially painful because we invest our most selfless love and brightest hope for the future in our children. Even those who usually show calm, quiet strength in stressful situations can be twisted into grief-stricken outbursts or depressed withdrawal over the loss of their children.

This may have seemed the case with David, Israel’s most famous king. His servants were surprised by his actions during his child’s illness. So deep was his grief that members of his court worried about the impact of telling him the truth about his child. Read on to learn more about David’s suffering. If you’ve suffered a loss in your own family, may you draw some comfort from how he pursued his relationship with God.

Taking action — in God's direction

Though the prophet Nathan, God had predicted the first child of David and Bathsheba would die. David “sought the Lord” by praying, fasting and sleeping on the ground instead of in his kingly bed. This went on for seven days until the child’s death. David showed such a mournful, tormented attitude that his servants were afraid to tell him his child had died (2 Samuel 12:12-18). Why did David do this? He knew from experience that God is “good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon Him” (Psalm 86:5). He hoped God would mercifully save the child’s life. While there was something he could do, he did it — by humbly appealing to God instead of hopelessly remaining in self-pity. (See 2 Samuel 12:22)

Taking ownership of the situation

David knew the death of the child was his fault. Nathan had pronounced this as one of the many judgments on his household. He began his approach to David in a way that made David see his hypocrisy (2 Samuel 12:1-14). Contrast this with Cain, the first murderer: Cain attempted to deceive God by saying, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” when asked about Abel (Genesis 4:9). When God pronounced judgment on him, Cain protested, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13). David’s sin was far greater: he had abused his power to betray Uriah, a faithful friend. He had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. He had commanded Joab to allow Uriah to be killed to cover up the evidence of his sin. However, when Nathan confronted him, he admitted, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). David’s punishment was also far greater than Cain’s. David’s grief and repentant attitude flowed out of his personal acknowledgment of guilt; it didn’t make him withdraw from the Lord. Instead, he trusted in God’s goodness and mercy, hoping, until the very end, for a reversal of the situation.

Taking initiative to comfort others

It’s common for grief over the death of a child to isolate a father and mother, adding to their pain. Men and women sometimes deal with their loss in very different ways and have trouble comforting one another effectively. This story ends with David taking steps to comfort his wife. Ultimately another son was born to them, Solomon. His name means “peace,” and a message delivered by Nathan led them to nickname him “Jedidiah”, which means, “loved by the Lord.” Despite the terrible way their relationship began, God made it known He had accepted David’s repentance and intercession. This brought healing and peace to the family. 

David’s strong faith in grief has been a source of hope for countless parents: “…I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23). He expected their child to be awaiting them “in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6) where David himself expected to dwell.

Although even the most hope-filled promises can’t erase a loss like this one, we can nevertheless be comforted by them. How does a verse like Romans 8:28apply in this situation?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Despite the vast destruction and death brought on by David’s sin, God brought Jesus to earth through his union with Bathsheba: Jesus’ legal right to Israel’s throne was established because of Mary’s husband Joseph’s descent from Solomon (Matthew 1:6). He was identified as Son of David (Matthew 1:1) because of Mary’s descent from a later son of David and Bathsheba, Nathan (1 Chronicles 3:5Luke 3:31). In His sovereign mercy, God worked this miserable experience out to be the way of salvation for David and everyone who has trusted in Christ for redemption! He can work your affliction out for your good as well!


Pray this week:

Father, I am sorry for doubting your goodness. I know that you can and will turn my afflictions to good. Help me see and understand when you do this. AMEN


Christians are told to “bear one another’s burdens.”

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Hard Sayings of Jesus

Don’t let anything — however shocking — keep you from Jesus

Written by Dan Lee on 12/06/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Confusion, Identity, Jesus, Discipleship, Lord
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 7:28–29
God’s Word, the Bible, is full of promises and comforting words. But in both the Old and New Testaments we find words that challenge rather than comfort us, or even cause us to be troubled or confused. 

Some of Jesus’ words are hard because His goal was not our happiness in this life, but our sanctification. That is, that we live holy lives that bring glory to Him. 

Let’s allow the difficulty of some of God’s words cause us to praise Him in faith, knowing that His wisdom and knowledge are infinite and perfect. And let us rejoice, knowing that though we see Him only dimly now through a clouded glass, we will soon see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). 

Here are a few of Jesus’ hard sayings, with a short explanation of each. I trust they will help you know and follow Him better.

No. 1: Eat His flesh and drink His blood
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:53-54)

This is one of Jesus’ most famous hard sayings. Many of his followers left him after hearing it, and the disciples even said, “This is a hard saying” (John 6:60). 

We also know that some critics, taking the words literally, accused Christians of being cannibals. So what did Jesus mean when he said these words?

Jesus was not instructing people to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, but that his body and blood, broken and shed for us on the cross, were going to be life-giving and nourishing for all who believed in him. Later, during the Last Supper, He explained further:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said,  ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28)

So in saying that His followers were to “eat his flesh” and “drink His blood,” Jesus was telling us that we must take Him — His very life — into ourselves to receive His forgiveness. And to this day, we celebrate Holy Communion as a remembrance of His sacrifice.

No. 2: Hate your family and yourself
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Is Jesus, the God of Love, really telling us to hate? No! Jesus here is using hyperbole, or exaggeration, to make His point. We know that He never endorsed breaking any of the Ten Commandments, including “Honor your father and mother.” 

Jesus is saying that, in comparison to the love and devotion He deserves, any other love, including for ourselves, should look like hatred. He calls us to learn to love Him so deeply and to obey Him so completely, that any human allegiance, even the desire to preserve one’s life, looks like hate in comparison. 

Jesus told us in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one this, than that someone lay down his life for his friends.” And of course, He demonstrated this when He went to the cross, laying down His own life for the forgiveness of mankind.

No. 3: Tear out your eye
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)

Here’s another use of hyperbole. Jesus is telling us here that if anything keeps us from following him, it requires drastic action. Our very eternal destiny may be at stake. 

In practical terms, it means that I may need to end that dating relationship that keeps drawing me into sin. Or, I may need to quit my job if my boss demands that I cheat. To avoid sin, God might ask me to enroll in a different school or even move to another city. That’s how important that is to Him. We should be desperate to live holy lives, in the power of His Holy Spirit. 

Were Jesus' teachings hard, radical, even shocking? Yes! They still have great power to give us reason to worry about indifference toward Him. As Missionary Hudson Taylor reportedly said: "Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all." As you encounter other difficult sayings in God’s Word, always trust that He, and His words, are faithful and true. And as you dig a little deeper and ask for His wisdom, He will teach and guide you, enabling you to live a life that glorifies Him. 

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, as your disciples said, who else would I turn to? You have the words of eternal life. However challenging your call is to me, I will love and follow you, because you are my only hope.

For you, what is the hardest thing about following Jesus? Write for prayer and help.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member