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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (November 16th)

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"Unusual" Consequences of Accessing Grace through Faith

Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. (Hebrews 11:36-37)

Very often, when people are trusting in the Lord to work by His grace, they anticipate many delightful workings of God (such as we have seen in the testimonies of Hebrews 11). These saints "subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:33-34). Yet, others experienced what might be called "unusual" consequences of accessing grace through faith. They had to trust in the Lord when the aforementioned blessings did not occur. They had to trust God to sustain them in and through great difficulties of life.

Some had to endure by faith "trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment." Jeremiah exemplifies these. "O LORD…I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me…Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison" (Jeremiah 20:7; 37:15). Some "were stoned." Zechariah was killed in this fashion when he gave warnings from the Lord. "So they conspired against him, and…stoned him with stones" (2 Chronicles 24:21). Some "were sawn in two." Tradition tells us that Isaiah died in this vicious manner. Some "were tempted." In the midst of their sufferings, they were further pained by enticements to ungodly responses. Job endured this through bad counsel from his own wife. "Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9). Some "were slain with the sword." King Saul ordered godly priests to be executed this way, because they were loyal to David: " '…kill the priests!' So Doeg the Edomite…killed on that day eighty-five men…." (1 Samuel 22:18). Others "wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented." By faith, these saints had to endure homelessness, poverty, distress, and harassment.

These servants of the Lord (who are all examples of living by faith!) are a reminder to us that our trials, sufferings, and anguishing impossibilities do not necessarily mean we are failing to trust God. These challenges often mean that we are being given an opportunity to humbly, dependently, draw upon the grace of God in ways that we need to experience or others need to observe.

Lord God of the "unusual" blessing, please give me the wisdom to discern and the grace to endure when Your answer to my prayer is to allow a mocking, a verbal stoning, an affliction, or a season of lack, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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