Afflictions Are Limited

alone-boy-child-256658 (1)A Scripture Meditation by W. F. Bell (1948-2018)

“Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.” Nahum 1:12

The entire human family, including God’s elect, will at times suffer various afflictions; however, our great and wise God, “according to the multitude of his mercies,” assures us that they are limited (see Lamentations 3:31-33). The rod does not last forever. Just as the prophet Nahum (“comfort”) gave a message of comfort to the nation of Judah in the seventh century B. C., revealing that Jehovah would eventually remove the Assyrian rod from their land, so too we are assured that the trials and sorrows of God’s people will one day come to an end: “Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.” Thus we have this comforting promise to us in the New Testament:”Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9). Note, “receiving!” 

It was C. H. Spurgeon who once said, “Our Father in heaven takes away the rod when his design in using it is fully served.” Yes, whatever that “design” is, our merciful God will some day take it away. So, let us “be of good cheer,” looking to our Lord Jesus Christ alone, who knew all about afflictions of soul and body when hanging on the tree of Calvary as our Substitute. Dying for his people, “the just for the unjust,” he was identifying himself with us in all of our afflictions, according to 1 Peter 2:23-24; 3:18. What wondrous love, mercy, and condescension this was from our precious Savior!

Whatever trials we are facing today, let us learn anew that “in the faith” we must look beyond our present circumstances to a brighter day. Satan, our enemy and adversary, will not win in the end, so we are admonished: “Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:9-11).

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in me.”
John Newton (Gadsby’s #295)

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The Excellency of the Holy Scriptures

Anne Steele (1717-1778) wrote this twelve verse hymn highlighting the infinite worth and beauty of Scripture. May the Divine Instructor teach us to love His Sacred Word. May God’s celestial lines cheer our fainting minds.

FATHER of mercies, in thy word
What endless glory shines!
For ever be thy name ador’d
For these celestial lines.

Here mines of heavenly wealth disclose
Their bright, unbounded store:
The glittering gem no longer glows,
And India boasts no more.

Here may the wretched sons of want
Exhaustless riches find:
Riches, above what earth can grant,
And lasting as the mind.

Here, the fair tree of knowledge grows,
And yields a free repast,
Sublimer sweets than nature knows,
Invite the longing taste.

Here may the blind and hungry come,
And light, and food receive;
Here beams the meanest guest have room,
And taste, and see, and live.

Amidst these gloomy wilds below,
When dark and sad we stray;
Here beams of heaven relieve our woe,
And guide to endless day.

Here springs of consolation rise,
To cheer the fainting mind;
And thirsty souls receive supplies,
And sweet refreshment find.

When guilt and terror, pain and grief,
United rend the heart,
Here sinners meet divine relief,
And cool the raging smart.

Here the Redeemer’s welcome voice,
Spreads heavenly peace around;
And life, and everlasting joys
Attend the blissful sound.

But when his painful sufferings rise,
(Delightful, dreadful scene!)
Angels may read with wondering eyes
That Jesus died for men.

O may these heavenly pages be
My ever dear delight,
And still new beauties may I see,
And still increasing light.

Divine instructor, gracious Lord,
Be thou for ever near,
Teach me to love thy sacred word,
And view my Saviour there.

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