The Present Portion of the Christian
Amid all the terrible state of things at the present, we may well ask, what is the Christian’s portion? One thing is certain; they cannot escape the trials and tribulations common to men. If heavy taxation, for instance, must rest upon the nation, the Christian must, perforce, have his share in this. Are prices high? They affect the Christians and those who are not alike. Is conscription to be the order of the day? It will affect believer and unbeliever alike.But what is the golden lining on the other side of the dark cloud?
It consists of DIVINE FACTS, the contemplation of which will comfort our hearts.
God and His Care for His Own
The first fact we may briefly consider is one of great comfort and consolation to the believer’s heart. We know GOD and His care for His own. How sweet it is if we can really take up the language of Scripture:-
"We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour [literally PRESERVER as to temporal things] of all men, SPECIALLY of those that believe" (1 Ti. 4:10).
How happy it is to be assured that God is "the LIVING God." He, who made the eye, can see; He, who made the ear, can hear; He, who made the heart, can love; He, who is our Father, cares for His children.
Are we wondering how rising prices are to be met, and how increased taxation is to be faced? Let us trust God. Paul, with a confidence begotten of knowledge and experience, could triumphantly exclaim, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). What triumph there is in the use of the personal pronoun "my." What a wonderful measure of supply! Who can fail in comfort with such precious promises given!
Elijah of old was fed by the ravens, the greediest of birds. And when the brook Cherith dried up, God’s care was still as powerful as ever. He raised up a poor, indigent widow to care for His servant, and performed a daily miracle to accomplish it.
Nor was Elijah alone in that day cared for, for we read of Obadiah feeding with bread and water one hundred prophets by fifties in a cave.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the den of lions, are striking instances of God’s care and power.
In the New Testament we read of Peter released from prison, and of Paul, standing on the deck of the vessel, when "no small tempest" lay upon the voyagers, being able to say, "There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve" (Acts 27:23). How full of encouragement is Holy Scripture!
God’s Cheer for His People
Terrible judgments are about to be poured out upon this world-so terrible as to make the heart quail, even in the reading of them. How cheering it is to have the prospect of being soon caught up to be for ever with the Lord. The Church will NOT go through the Great Tribulation. One verse of Scripture proves this in the most convincing of language. The Lord says to His own:-
"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10).
The Lord has given to us the word of His patience, that is the truth as to His coming for His people, and instructions how to patiently wait for His coming. Added to this He promises to His people that they shall be kept from (literally, out of) the hour of the fast-approaching world-wide tribulation which shall try all earth-dwellers.
Mark the exactitude of the language. It is not merely that the saints are to be kept out of the temptation, but out of "THE HOUR" of temptation. And seeing the tribulation is to be worldwide, and no part of the world’s population will escape it, there is only one way this Scripture can be satisfactorily fulfilled, and that is by the Lord’s people being removed by the summoning shout of the Lord (see 1 Th. 4:16-17). There is no way of being kept out of the hour, save by being taken out of time and being placed in eternity. There is no way of escaping the worldwide tribulation, save by being removed from the sphere of it, that is the whole world.
So we get in the next verse a promise and an exhortation, which suit us admirably at this present time:
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).
Revelation 3:10-11, most conclusively proves the believer will not go through the great tribulation, but may expect the Lord at any moment. How cheering! What a golden lining we have to our dark cloud!
Yes, meanwhile, and how short a space of time may suffice for it, for the Lord’s coming is very near, we have God’s care and the priesthood of Christ to help us through. We have God’s wonderful care of which we have spoken; we have all the sympathy and succour of our Great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God; we have the throne of grace to come to for help in time of need. Our High Priest is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb. 4:15). It is not only that He knows. He does know, fully, completely, every anxiety, every sorrow, every pain, every bit of pressure and anguish, but He feels. No wonder the writer of the Hebrews can exhort:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).
In short our past is met by His mercy; our present, whatever it may be, is met by His care, our future is glowing with the ineffable glory of His own presence and likeness.
Fix your mind on these three following words and feast upon them.
"SPECIALLY"(1 Ti. 4:10). "BOLDLY"(Heb. 4:16). "QUICKLY"(Rev. 3:11).