The God of All Comfort

(An excerpt from Revelation Volume 3 by Paul M. Sadler)

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:3,4).

Whatever trials and sorrows you may encounter in life, God wants you to know that He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. But exactly how does the Lord comfort us in our time of need? He does so in unique ways in this administration of Grace.

It is comforting to know that, because we have a personal relationship with Christ, we can speak with our heavenly Father about all the things that are on our hearts. Prayer is communication with God. It’s the channel through which the finite has access to the infinite. Having been accepted in God’s beloved Son, we have access to talk with God at any time. Moreover, when we meditate on the Scriptures, God often comforts us through His written Word.

Oftentimes, the Lord consoles us by bringing someone into our lives to encourage us. Many times it is a believer who has experienced the same adversity that we are facing. The world can be unmerciful in its attacks when we faithfully stand for the truth. This accounts for some of the sufferings we endure for the cause of Christ.

Then there are those occasions when we are comforted by the arrival of good news. Perhaps it takes the form of diagnostic tests that come back negative, or an answer to prayer.

It is also comforting to know that the Lord’s people are keeping us before the throne of Grace in our hour of need. It’s reassuring to realize that we do not need to bear our burdens alone.

When finally we are delivered from our affliction, whatever form it may take, we are given a very special ministry by God. We are now in the position to comfort those who are hurting. The Lord doesn’t comfort us merely to be comfortable, but that we might also comfort others. Having passed through affliction ourselves, we are able to relate better to what someone else is facing.

I remember making a hospital visit when one of the brethren from our local assembly stopped by. During the course of the conversation, he shared how, years earlier, he had had the same surgery that the one we were visiting was going to have. Almost immediately he had the patient’s undivided attention. Nothing I would’ve said could have ministered more effectively than the testimony of that dear brother in Christ.

Consider for a moment the greatness of God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things in heaven and earth. When we peer into the night sky, we see His handiwork; the heavens are immense and reflect His glory (Psa. 19:1). The galaxies of stars that dot the heavens, He created and gave each of them a name. Such power and knowledge, as David said, is beyond our comprehension (Psa. 139:1-6; 147:5). But this same God, who is above all, has taken a personal interest in you and me (Psa. 8:4). That’s grace!

Like the weaver who weaves a beautiful tapestry, God is methodically creating for the Church today an image of His divine purpose. Because we are currently on the wrong side of eternity, things can be difficult to understand. But soon all things will be made clear when we are caught up into the glory of His presence and see the finished tapestry of His grace

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

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Give The Jews Credit! – Haggai 1:12-15



Most of the time when preachers talk about the Jews it is in a negative way, and there is nothing wrong with this. God recorded their sins “for ensamples” for us (I Cor. 10:11), and if preachers don’t use those examples, they can’t give us the “admonition” we need. So we should point out their sins as faithfully as we point out the sins of the Corinthians and other Gentiles. But we should also give the Jews credit when it is due, and it is due in Haggai 1:12! And when everyone in Israel obeyed God, from the governor down to the people, it was a type of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Zechariah also prophesied at that time (Ezra 5:2), and he gave another type of the kingdom. He tells how God told him to put two crowns on the high priest (Zech. 6:10,11), but high priests were only supposed to wear one (Ex. 39:27-30). Why two? The only other men in Israel to wear a crown were kings (II Ki. 11:11,12). But kings weren’t allowed to be priests and priests weren’t allowed to be kings! Saul lost his kingdom that way (I Sam. 13:9-14). So why would God tell Zechariah to put two crowns on the high priest? He was acting out a prophecy (cf. Ezek. 24:16-24) that he was about to give (Zech. 6:12,13). Christ will be a king and a priest in the kingdom, and Zechariah was acting that out. He says the Lord will build the temple (Zech. 6:13), so if the Jews at that time rebuilt the temple, they would be acting out their part of this prophecy of the kingdom!

They feared the Lord (1:12) because of the judgments that were already falling on them (1:6). They took Haggai’s advice and began to “consider” (1:5) that the last time they persisted in disobedience they ended up in Babylon for 70 years. Of course, grace believers think they needn’t fear God because He won’t chasten us like that, but Paul says otherwise (II Cor. 7:1). We should be afraid to grieve the Spirit who has sealed us to the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30).

It’s for your own good. When Christ will be both the political leader and spiritual leader of the world in the kingdom, it will be heaven on earth. Well, Christ is already your spiritual leader. If you make Him the king of your life, you can experience a little bit of heaven on earth right now!

Any prophet who ever delivered a message from God was a messenger of the Lord, but only Haggai is called that (1:13). That’s because he was a messenger “in the Lord’s message,” which was “I am with you.” That was God’s main message for Israel, so the message was delivered by the messenger.

But God was only with them if they were with Him (I Chron. 15:2). And they didn’t start building the temple till Verse 14. So how could God say He was with them in 1:13? What proof did He have they were with Him? Well they resumed work on the temple (1:14) 21 days after Haggai told them to go gather the wood (1:1 cf. 1:8). That means they must have gathered the wood in those 21 days. That’s how they “obeyed” in 1:12, and how God could say He was with them.

God “stirred” them (1:14) as he did Cyrus (II Chron. 36:22,23). He stirred him by naming him centuries before he was born and predicting he’d build the temple (II Chron. 36:22,23). When Cyrus saw that, he knew Israel’s God was the true God, and knew he’d better do what His Word said! In other words, God stirred him up using His Word, and that’s how He stirred the Jews in Haggai’s day as well. Haggai and Zechariah preached and got them stirred up.

It’s a pastor’s job to get people stirred up, so if you’re not feeling stirred up about the things of the Lord, get to church! You may know the Word well, but it’s the pastor’s job to stir you up about the things in the Bible you already know (II Pe. 1:12,13). Peter stirred them up even though they were “established in the present truth.” The present truth then was the New Testament, but today we need to be established in the truth of the Old Testament, the truth of the New Testament, and the truth of the grace message (Rom.16: 25,26), and let the pastor stir us up about it all!

Think About What You’ve Done – Haggai 1:5-11



The hard financial times the Jews were experiencing (1:5,6) meant God was chastening them, as He warned He would (Deut. 28:15-41). God told them they’d sow much and reap little (28:38) and it was happening (1:6). Their fruitful land wouldn’t prosper if they were bad (Ps. 107:33,34).

Often they knew they were being chastened and were ashamed (Jer. 14:4), but when they forgot God reminded them (Joel 1:11). Here in Haggai they forgot, so God tells them to “consider” their ways (1:5). They ate, but didn’t have enough to eat (1:6), something else God warned about (Lev. 26:14,26; Hos. 4:10; Mic. 6:13,14). They drank but weren’t filled with drink (1:6) as God also warned (Ezek. 4:16,17; Deut. 28:39).

They ignored Leviticus 25:4 for 490 years, so God allowed them to be taken captive to let the land catch up on her sabbath years of rest (Lev. 25:33,34 cf. II Chron. 36:17-21). That means all the nutrients farming takes out of land were restored, and their land should have been producing big time. When it didn’t, they should have known they were being judged.

Just as the coats they were putting on weren’t warming them, the money they were making wasn’t profiting them (1:6). God warned them they’d spend their strength at work in vain (Lev. 26:14,20). So when God told them to consider their ways they should’ve done what the psalmist did (119:59,60).

They should have gone back to work on the temple. God repeated that order after chastening them (1:7,8) just as He repeated His order to Jonah after chastening him (1:1,2; 3:1,2)

Of course, when you’ve been away from the Lord for awhile, a sort of spiritual paralysis sets in, and you want to return, but are not sure how to start. God knew this, so told Israel what to do, step by step, i.e., to go up to the mountain and get the wood to build the temple and bring it back (1:8). He started with the basics, and built from there. If you feel spiritually paralyzed, you too need to get back to basics! And the first thing Paul tells us to do is stop doing bad things and start doing good things (Rom. 6:12,13). That’s pretty basic, but no more basic than “go get the wood…”, etc.

God said He’d take pleasure in the rebuilding of the temple (1:8). He knew that they knew if they started obeying, He would not only stop chastening them, He would start blessing them, so He gave them this added incentive. Then He gave them more incentive by saying it would glorify Him (1:8). In saying that, He was asking them to look past what obeying would do for them, and look at what it would do for God. Obedience glorifies God in any dispensation! We should remember that, since God is not spanking us when we are bad and blessing us when we are good in this dispensation, our only motivation to obey Him is to glorify Him!

Why would they look for much if they knew they were bad and deserved the chastening of getting little for their efforts (1:9)? Ah, they thought they were being good, obeying the king like God’s people should, when he ordered the work on the temple stopped. But they should have known from the example of the 3 Hebrews in Daniel 3 that they weren’t to obey the king if he ordered them to do something against God’s orders. They also should have known it was time to build the temple from Daniel 9:25, so they shouldn’t have been saying it wasn’t time to build the temple (1:2).

What little they did bring home God blew upon (1:9) with His fiery breath (Isa. 30:33 cf. 40:6,7), and it went up in a figurative puff of smoke. All because they let the house of God lay “waste” while they “ran” to build their own houses (1:2 cf. 1:4). That word “run” shows they were obeying God but their heart wasn’t it in. They couldn’t wait to stop serving God and start serving themselves (cf. Amos 8:4-7).

God not only cut off their rain, He cut off their dew (1:10), and thoroughly chastened them (1:11). But He doesn’t chasten us. We’re not under the law that says God will chasten us if we break it (Rom. 6:14,15). Your apostle never says to consider your ways, consider what you’ve done, he says to “forget” what you’ve done (Phil. 3:13) and think about virtuous things (Phil. 4:8). But sin will have a deadening effect in your life (Rom. 8:13), so don’t watch your circumstances for evidence God is chastening you, but watch your heart for signs of deadening. Serve Him by “considering” all He has done for you (I Sam. 12:24).

Berean Searchlight – February 2018

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