Paul was a realistic man. He understood that the church in Thessalonica had undergone persecution, and in 1 Thessalonians 3, he expresses his concern that perhaps some of them had fallen away because of that.
1Th 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
1Th 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
1Th 3:6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
Vigilance is important. I do think that part of the Christian mission is to support the community, and when we go through difficult times, we need to make sure that we provide comfort and encouragement for each other.
Paul saw what was happening in Thessalonica. He knew that circumstances can cause people to doubt. We see it happen all the time, and Paul did not want that to happen. As a result, he sent a message to evaluate how well they were doing. If there was a problem, he wanted to address it.
I know that many of us are not necessarily great with words. Maybe we feel intimidated about comforting people because we don’t necessarily know what to say. However, it seems to be part of what Paul did for this church, and it therefore seems to be something that might be good for us to do. Maybe we don’t exactly know what to say when someone needs support, but if we remember that God is with us and that we do have an obligation to our Christian community to be supportive where we are able to, then maybe when that persecution does come, we will remain strong rather than fade away.
Chapter 2 of the Song of Solomon had quite a bit of language that I think can point towards the person of Jesus Christ. As I have been reading more about this book, I realize that there can be more than one layer of meaning, but because I began writing on the most literal meaning of the text as a picture of human marriage, I am going to continue writing from that perspective. I have heard that one of the most important rules to keep in mind about the Bible is that it must have meant something to the person who wrote it, and I think it is pretty obvious what this one meant to the author. It was a celebration of love between a husband and a wife. I am not saying there can’t be more to it, but the very least, we are safe for sticking with this interpretation. Plus, then my writing will make sense as we progress.
Chapter 2 is almost entirely dedicated to the wife to be talking about how much she loves her future husband and why she loves him. One reason stood out quite clearly, and I think it is really important for all of us to remember.
Son 2:6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
This is an image of support. Solomon clearly cares about this woman, and he is physically holding on to her. Obviously this can be a sign of love, and it is physically comforting for her to know that he is right there. However, with that physical comfort from the very real type of psychological comfort. We like to know that there are people who are there to support us and help us out.
This is obviously true in marriages, and I think we can even extend this one to friendships. If you are going to be seriously involved with someone in any type of capacity, a big part of that is being right alongside them. In marriage, that is necessary for the proper function of the family, and for my readers who are not married, it is vital for any relationship you have.
Sometimes we think that we can take on everything by ourselves. However, eventually we realize that we can’t and need to rely on the power of God.
In Numbers chapter 11, the people of Israel were complaining because they could not have meat. God was providing manna every day, but they wanted more and told Moses in no uncertain terms about the problem.
Moses was only human, and he knew that he had not handle this on his own.
Num 11:13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
Num 11:14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
He knew that he would not be able to handle everyone and everything all the time. God knew that though, and He had a plan to help Moses out.
Num 11:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
Num 11:17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
God will bring people into our lives to help us out as well. Obviously, we can do nothing without Him, but He also uses other people empowered by Him to strengthen and support us.
I think this is illustrated in the New Testament by how the church was and is supposed to function. A diverse group of people with several different gifts are supposed to work together and complement each other’s talents. Empowered by God, they should be able to achieve the purpose of the church which was outlined by Jesus.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is important to remember. When we think that the mission is too big, God will bring people along to help us further His Kingdom on earth. All things are possible through the power of God.