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Oppression

Saturday, July 11, 2020

“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”

(Mt. 5:41

The Greek word aggareuein is used three times in the New Testament with the meaning 'to compel.' Jesus commands his disciples to go two miles when they are "compelled" to go one (Mt. 5:41). It is also the word that both Matthew and Mark use to describe Simon of Cyrene being "compelled" to help carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary (Mt. 27:32Mk. 15:21). 

This word is Persian in origin and comes from a noun (aggaros) which means ‘a courier’ or ‘an express messenger’ and later became naturalized into the Greek language. The Persians had a remarkably efficient courier system that made it possible for news to travel quickly through the empire. They lined the roads with men stationed with horses at precise intervals. A rider could travel fastest and most efficiently for one day on average. The first rider would deliver the dispatch to the second and on down the line until the important news reached the ears of the king. The Persians gave this courier system a name: aggareion.

It was the law in the ancient world that anyone could be compelled to provide a horse or to act as a guide to keep this service going. Therefore, aggareuein came to mean "to force someone into service," whether they liked it or not. Imagine how it would feel being forcibly conscripted to give up your horse or your afternoon to grease the wheels of communication for an occupying military force.

Anyone could be impressed upon to carry a soldier’s bags or any other service the occupying force laid upon him. This is exactly what happened to Simon of Cyrene (Mt. 27:32Mk. 15:21). It is quite clear from many other ancient documents including Josephus’ Antiquities (13.2.3), the writings of Epictetus (4.1.79), Xenophon (Cyropaedia 8.6.17), Aeschylus (Agamemnon) and various Egyptian papyri that this practice of forced conscription was both widespread and flagrantly abused during the first century. Military officials requisitioned both things and people, not only for public services and for the army’s purposes, but for their own selfish profit.

This aggareia would have been one of the bitterest humiliations that subjects in an occupied country would endure. It’s not hard to imagine how one might get tired of being taken advantage of and choose to rebel against the occupying force (which is exactly what  “zealots” like Simon were doing, Mt. 10:4). Add to that the long history of the Jewish people being kicked around as slaves and exiles of one pagan kingdom after another for hundreds of years, and you have a recipe for rebellion, retaliation and compounded sin where the once enslaved become the very thing they rebelled against (Amos 2:6-8). 

That seems to be the way of history: the oppressed revolt, gain power and become the oppressors. Indeed, that is what happened after the Jewish Maccabean revolt against the Seleucids in the second century BC. Jon Hyrcanus (134-104 BC) assumed power and Jewish tyranny set in with the forced 'conversions' of the Idumeans and the destruction of the temple the Samaritans had built on Mount Gerizim (cf. Jn. 4:9). The Jews had become the same tyrannical force they fought against a generation before. And the wheel turned yet again when Jewish independence ended abruptly when the Roman general Pompey invaded Jerusalem in 63 BC.

But Jesus brought good news that broke the cycle of oppression: "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two." (Mt. 5:41) If someone who is your social superior exacts the most humiliating and distasteful service, if someone conscripts you to do something that invades your rights and that he has no right to ask, if you feel like you are being treated as sub-human, the King says don’t resent it. But his royal command of love goes deeper. He doesn’t simply teach his disciples to grit their teeth and bear it (that’s what the Jews had been doing for centuries!). No, begrudging service brings God no glory. Instead, Jesus teaches his disciples to do what our oppressors ask of us and even more. Not only that but he teaches that we should do it with a heart of love and good will. 

Brethren, this is a word for our time. In a world which is brutalizing and devouring itself, we must speak and live this gospel message of power, love and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7). Christians are taught to actively love, pray for and seek the best for those in power regardless of their character (Rom. 13:1-7Eph. 6:5-92 Tim. 2:1-41 Pet. 1:13-17). And if they are oppressed, Christians are taught to love their oppressors (Mt. 5:43-48Rom. 12:14ff; 1 Pet. 234) to extinguish the fires of sin with the living water of the gospel. The way of Christ is the only way forward.

But how can the oppressed love the oppressor? The only power strong enough to motivate and energize us to do the impossible (Mk. 10:27) is the unconquerable goodwill that God showed us all when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus not only modeled how to suffer faithfully but healed us through his wounds so that we could go out into this broken world as his wounded healers (1 Pet. 2:21-24). Justice will eventually be done and evil will be punished but, in the meantime, may God help us to grasp the limitless dimensions of his love so that we may not only refuse to retaliate against oppression but bring his healing love to bear upon the world.

The Dark Hour

Saturday, July 04, 2020

King David wrote Psalm 3 “when he fled from Absalom his son” (see the title), the events of which are recounted in 2 Samuel 15. The personal grief of having raised a rebellious son (2 Sam. 18:33) was the knife-twist amid a larger aching pain of national disloyalty. Mixed with the popular public sentiment that God had withdrawn from David, this time of exile made for torturous mental agony. He had been on the run before from the previous king, Saul, but that time he had been innocent. This second flight from Jerusalem, however, was partially due to his own moral failings (2 Sam. 12:11). 

Human Enmity (vv.1-2)

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!

Many are rising up against me.

Many are saying of my soul,

“There is no deliverance for him in God.” 

David was part of a shrinking minority, which is itself a test of nerve. His opponents, pictured as multiplying, were active in their search for him and accusatory – it looked as though God had abandoned him. David had already acknowledged his sin and thrown himself at the mercy of God (2 Sam. 16:11-12). But he was facing “increasing” human enmity. Hunted, alone and weak, to whom could he turn to now?

Divine Protection (vv.3-4)

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I was crying to the LORD with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain.

Where else can anyone go in pain of fear but to the LORD? Each phrase in v.3 grows in confidence. It’s as if David begins by reminding himself who the LORD is and increases with each fresh remembrance. He considered the LORD his “shield” encompassing him in divine protection. 

David, a king to whom much “glory” had been bestowed in the form of power, privilege and possessions, had been stripped of that glory hiding as a wanted man. He had squandered those gifts, using them for his own gain and to his own ruin. But now, broken in the wilderness, David finally realized the LORD was his only true claim to “glory” (Gal. 6:14).

Though he had been weeping “with his head covered” as he “walked barefoot” in miserable dejection (2 Sam. 15:30), the LORD “lifts” his head. Despite his failures as a husband, a father and a king, and despite all the favor he had lost with his subjects, the merciful God gave him grace. 

God’s “holy mountain” was the place where David was installed as king and where the ark, the symbol of God’s earthly throne (2 Sam. 6:2) and covenant, was kept. Though Absalom was the sitting king, David knew there was another King reigning in Jerusalem (Psa. 2) whose decrees issued from Zion, the LORD himself. David cried to him and was “answered.”

Peace of Mind (vv.5-6)

I lay down and slept;

I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people

Who have set themselves against me round about.

Such was David’s certainty that his “crying” prayer had been heard (1 Jn. 5:14-15) that he “lay down and slept”! His security in answered prayer was well founded for he “awoke” by the sustaining power of the LORD. 

Awake, alive, refreshed and encouraged, David was ready to face any threat. No matter how “many” (vv.1-2) enemies encircled him, even “ten thousands,” he had the peace of mind that the LORD’s protection brings (Phil. 4:4-7).

Victory & Blessing (vv.7-8)

Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God!

For You smite all my enemies on the cheek;

You shatter the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the LORD;

Your blessing be upon Your people!

For David, the anointed of God, refuge from his enemies is not enough. Anything less than total victory and being reinstated as king was tantamount to defeat. So David called upon the LORD his God for “salvation” from his “enemies,” confident God would provide deliverance. 

David trusted in God’s power to save because he realized that “salvation belongs” to God. Without the LORD there is no salvation to be had. But this is no presumptuous prayer. He was not asking anything from the LORD that the LORD had not already promised. God has always exalted the lowly and humbled the proud. Within David's humble cry for "salvation" was his desire for God to be glorified through his salvation.

So the psalm ends looking beyond David to God’s “people” and beyond David’s rescue to God’s “blessing.” God’s people will not only survive but be delivered; we will not only be delivered but be victorious; we will not only be victorious but be eternally blessed. 

David’s situation in Psalm 3 mirrors ours in so many ways. We were created to reign on God’s earth (Gen. 1:28) but abdicated our throne and exchanged our authority for slavery to sin and Satan (Gen. 3). But thank God that he sent his Anointed Son to dethrone the enemy and reinstall us to our rightful position! (Jn. 1:12; Rev. 22:5) “Salvation belongs to the LORD”!

(adapted from Kidner Classic Commentaries: Psalms 1-72)

The Public Reading of Scripture

Saturday, June 27, 2020

"Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching."

1 Timothy 4:13

The Scriptures are meant to be read not only in private for our individual study but in public to shape the whole church family so that we can see ourselves together as part of God’s story. God’s people always need reminding of that story, where they fit into it and where it's all going. When we hear it read aloud we realize we are called to be part of the action. This is why the public reading of Scripture was such an important part of the worship of the early church, a pattern we would do well to emulate.

The usual Scripture reading in our Sunday worship service lasts about 1-2 minutes. To read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation takes about 80 hours. At that rate, most Christians who attend the Sunday gathering faithfully their entire lives will never hear the whole Bible read aloud. Usually, we have a short reading and a longer exposition of the text in the sermon. If you think about it, that's a bit like watching a preview for a movie every week but never actually watching the film; we're getting a rough explanation of what the movie is about but we never get caught up in the narrative of the story ourselves.

If the Bible takes about 80 hours to read and you read about 1-2 hours per week you will comfortably finish the Bible every year. Most Christians want to read more, so it's not an issue of desire. It’s an issue of strategy. OK, so what’s the strategy? According to Paul, in addition to our private individual reading, the church must be engaged in the public reading of Scripture. And this isn't just a New Testament thing! There were three pivotal moments in Israel's history which have the public reading of Scripture at their heart. 

READING AS REGULAR ROUTINE — (Deuteronomy 6:1-25) Entering the Promised Land

Deuteronomy records Moses’ speech to Israel just before crossing the Jordan River and inheriting the land promised to their fathers. Deuteronomy not only gives instructions and warnings on how to live in the land but also tells Israel's story, where they’ve been, where they're going and what the future holds. In this passage of the book (Deut. 6), God commands his people to love and serve him by keeping the Law fresh in their minds. The public reading of Scripture:

  1. Reminds us of our purpose — (vv.1-3) The Israelites were reminded of the big picture of God’s plan as they entered the Promised Land. Israel was chosen for the sake of the world. Their inheritance of Canaan was a sign of God’s claim on the entire creation. Retelling this story was vital lest they would forget the larger narrative of which their story was only a part.
  2. Reminds us of our allegiance — (vv.4-9) The "Shema" was Israel's prayer of allegiance to their King (v.4) accompanied by the command to devote themselves entirely to his service (v.5). They were to keep God's commandments in their “heart” (v.6) by constantly reciting and teaching them to their children and repeating them to themselves (vv.7-9). God's word was to be woven into the fabric of their life; the words were meant to travel from their "eyes" into their "mind" down to their "heart" to be worked out in their life ("hands"). 
  3. Reminds us of God’s presence — (vv.10-15) Just as Moses and Aaron constructed the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord dwelt within the tent, the same was to be true for individual Israelites. Through reading and reciting Scripture, they were to become living, breathing tabernacles, carrying within them God’s life and presence in visible ways wherever they went.

Israel was in a precarious position. They were about to enter the Promised Land but it could have all gone horribly wrong. Therefore, they needed to keep the story straight and fresh in their minds. They were to live that story (vv.1-3), pray it (vv.4-9), and not forget whose story they were a part of (vv.10-15). When their children asked about why things were they way they were, parents were to tell the story, passing God's word down the line (vv.20-25).

The same is true for us today. We were slaves but God intervened in his faithfulness and grace to rescue us from slavery and bring us to freedom. As Christians, we tell the same story of God's rescue. God, who was rich in mercy and grace, sent his Son to die on the cross and purchase our freedom from slavery. He then sent his Spirit to guide us to Promised Land. We must continue to tell that story so that, like Israel, we can be God’s means of rescuing others around us. We were saved not only for our sake, but like Israel, for the sake of the world.

READING FOR REFORM & RENEWAL — (2 Kings 22:1-23:3) Renewing Loyalty to God

In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, while the temple was being repaired, someone found an old, dusty scroll called the “Book of the Law” which was probably the book we call "Deuteronomy." The king heard the story of Israel's past and future, the blessings that come from obeying the covenant and the curses for disobedience, not least of which, the warning of exile. The public reading of Scripture had three positive results in that generation:

  1. Warns us of danger — The priest realized how far Israel had fallen short of keeping the covenant. The prophetess then told them bad things would happen if they didn't start paying attention to the words of the Law and turn as a nation to God. King Josiah was horrified to see the danger Israel was in. What motivated all this soul-searching? Reading Scripture! Scripture has the power to convict us of our situation and warn us to change our ways.
  2. Motives us to reform — The king gathered all the people to the temple to hear the Law read aloud. He then called on them to reform and renew their covenant promises their fathers had made to God at Mount Sinai. Again, the public reading of Scripture was at the heart of this national movement. The priestly desire for inner purity, the prophetic word of warning and judgment, and royal leadership into covenant renewal and reform all came through the public reading of Scripture.
  3. Teaches us accountability — Sadly, the kings after Josiah undid all his reforms and the nation went from bad to worse until they were eventually exiled. This teaches us a valuable lesson. We cannot rely on the reforms of previous generations. Every generation must read and wrestle with the Scriptures afresh because every generation faces different challenges than the one before it.

If we aren’t reading our Bibles from cover to cover we will be missing bits of story. Not only this, but we will be prone to develop a lopsided faith and a blindness to our faults. For Josiah, it was the Passover (2 Kgs. 23:21-22), but what might we be missing today? The only way to find out is to read the Scriptures. What was read and heard was made real by Josiah's reforms and actions. Every generation of God's people must repeat the pattern of publicly reading the Scriptures along with honest self-reflection.

READING FOR UNDERSTANDING & REJOICING — (Nehemiah 8:1-12) Rebuilding After Exile

After many of the exiles came back from Babylon to Jerusalem, Ezra and Nehemiah led the Israelites in restoring the ruined temple and city of Jerusalem. They worked faithfully, often against violent opposition, to get the work done. But it wasn't just a building project — it was a spiritual renewal. How did they contextualize their efforts? By the public reading of Scripture of course! Notice three things about the public reading of Scripture in this section:

  1. Requires interpretation — Reading Scripture aloud is good but sometimes it requires some help to understand it. The priests helped Ezra translate (from Hebrew to Aramaic) and interpret (“give the sense”) the Scriptures as they read. The “people understood the meaning” of the Scriptures (v.8) partly because of their diligent efforts to explain them and partly because the people were listening reverently and prayerfully (v.6).
  2. Accompanied with prayer — The correct attitude to hearing and understanding Scripture is to do so reverently and with prayer. We can't hope to soak it in just by glancing at it once in a while. The only way for Scripture to penetrate our hearts is to join our hearts with prayerful consideration while hearing it. We must desire to be challenged by it and to resolve to keep it. If we approach Scripture with open hands and open hearts it will take root within us and change us in unexpected ways as it did for the returned exiles in Ezra and Nehemiah's day.
  3. Results in celebration — The reaction of this prayerful, reverent listening to the word was the same as Josiah's and Hilkiah's before in 2 Kings 22. The people began to "weep" and "mourn" because they realized how far they had fallen short of God’s commands (v.9). But the Levites told them not to weep but instead to rejoice and celebrate. Why? Because they had understood the message (v.11). The words of God were making their way into their minds and hearts. The message was sinking in and would begin to transform their lives. This was cause for celebration!

Part of the beauty of Scripture is that it continues to teach us new things when we approach it expectantly. It is a word that needs unpacking but when we understand it we should celebrate in its effects.

READING AS GOD’S WORK IN THE WORLD — (1 Timothy 4:6-16) Modeling Life as Christians

In the New Testament, Timothy was to model the total Christian life by immersing himself in the Scriptures, paying careful attention to living them out in his own life and also by teaching them to others. We should not take it for granted that people will always understand a passage of Scripture the first time they hear it. It should be read and unpacked. Like Ezra and the Levites before Timothy, evangelists today must "give the sense" of the Scriptures and make practical applications so that we can all have our “hope set on the living God” and the future he has in store for us.

How does Scripture become the vehicle of God’s power in the world? When it’s read aloud, heard reverently, interpreted correctly, understood and acted upon. God’s power is brought to bear in and through us to the world by the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Living With God

Saturday, June 20, 2020

If God lived in a house, who would be allowed inside? This is the question posed at the beginning of Psalm 15. One might expect the answer to be a list of ritual requirements like washing one’s garments (Ex. 19:10-15). Surprisingly, the LORD’s reply searches the conscience and the heart. There are certain inner qualities that one must possess to access the divine presence. The psalmist’s words are not far off from Jesus’: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). Let’s take a look at Psalm 15.

GOD AS MAN’S HOST (v.1)

O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?

Who may dwell on Your holy hill?

The word “tent” may conjure up two pictures in your mind. You may recall the tent of meeting where God was formally worshiped by Israel with sacrifices offered by priests. This was the very place where God met his people, the nexus of heaven and earth (Ex. 29:42). Later, a temple was constructed by Solomon on the “holy hill” of Zion (1 Kgs. 8:1ff). 

The other image you may picture is one of simple hospitality expressed in the words “abide” and “dwell.” Combining these two ideas, this “tent” is a meeting place where God and his people can live together. The worshiper is God’s eager guest, his sojourning (the same word as “abide” v.1) to God’s house, a homecoming of sorts (23:6; 27:4-5). But the question remains, “who” is allowed this great privilege of meeting with God in his home?

MAN AS GOD’S GUEST (vv.2-5)

His Character: True (v.2)

He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,

And speaks truth in his heart.

The man whose life is characterized by “integrity,” meaning wholeness or completeness, is welcomed into God’s house. His outward behavior and profession is consistent with his inner comportment. He is true, that is, he is not a phony. He loves what is right and does what is right consistently. He speaks from his heart and is what he says, because he knows “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt. 12:34).

His Speech: Restrained (v.3)

He does not slander with his tongue,

Nor does evil to his neighbor,

Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

The man who values his “neighbor” enough to do him no harm is welcomed into God’s house. His speech is not slanderous (Lev. 19:16), that is, he refuses to spy things out and spread things around. He doesn’t pick up a “reproach” against his neighbor only to drag him through the mud. The Psalmist’s words are a commentary on the proverb, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” (Prov. 10:12)

His Allegiance: Total (v.4ab)

In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,

But who honors those who fear the Lord;

Verse 4a looks at first like a Pharisaic attitude of self-righteousness but by v.4b is seen in truth to be loyalty. The idea isn’t that he measures himself by others to find his justification (2 Cor. 10:12) but rather that he casts his vote for God and those who “fear” Him. He reveres the LORD and admires those who do the same. Abraham’s treatment of the king of Salem compared to the king of Sodom reflects this (Gen. 14:17-24).

His Dealings: Honorable (vv.4c-5ab)

He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

He does not put out his money at interest,

Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

This man makes a vow and, even though keeping it may result in “his own hurt,” he “does not change” his mind. The oath made here is not to someone else’s hurt (see Jephthah [Jdg. 11:35] or Herod [Mk. 6:26]) but to “his own.” If he makes a promise to his neighbor but later realizes his error, he could beg for release (Prov. 6:1-5). Instead, because he is a man of his word, he keeps his vow so no one else has to pay the cost.

An Israelite was allowed to lend out “money at interest” to foreigners (Deut. 23:20) but was not permitted to profit from a fellow Israelite, especially the poor (Lev. 25:35-38). Extortion was forbidden and generosity was encouraged (Ex. 23:9; Lev. 19:33-34). Remarkably, no distinction is made in this psalm between a brother or a stranger in need. He treats everyone the same. You might say the man who is welcome in God’s house truly loves his neighbor as himself (Lk. 10:25-29ff).

His Place: Certain (v.5c)

He who does these things will never be shaken.

This psalm is not just about being welcome and gaining admission into God’s house, but dwelling there (v.1). The instability of being moved (“shaken”) is only remedied by trusting in God (Psa. 16:8; 46:5). When we have steadfast faith in God’s word, God creates these very qualities (vv.2-5b) within us (we will do “these things”). The result of such faith? We will not only be welcome into God’s house but we “will never be [moved]”.

(adapted from Kidner Classic Commentaries: Psalms 1-72)

Spiritual Endurance

Saturday, June 13, 2020

“By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

(Luke 21:19) 

The Greek word hupomonē is normally translated “patience” or “endurance” but there is no single English word that fully captures its rich meaning. In Greek literature it was used to describe the endurance of a man forced into labor against his will but worked on, the endurance of a man who suffered the sting of grief but continued on, the endurance of a soldier who fought a losing battle but battled on. It also was used to describe a plant living in an inhospitable environment against all odds. You’ve probably seen those little shoots, stubbornly lifting their leafy heads to the sun out of a drainage pipe or a sidewalk crack. What you’re seeing is hupomonē, staying power.

This word is also used in the New Testament many times to describe the disciple of Jesus. It is mostly translated “patience” or “endurance”. But, as we shall see, it has many nuances of meaning that can inspire us to stronger commitment to our Lord.

  • Hupomonē is connected with tribulation. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). Our spiritual commitment is tested when we encounter “afflictions” (2 Cor. 6:4). The Thessalonians were commended for their patience amid persecutions (2 Thess. 1:4). This word is used throughout the book of Revelation to encourage Christians to remain faithful when their life was on the line (Rev. 1:9; 3:10; 13:10).
  • Hupomonē is connected with our faith. When our faith is tested it produces “patience” (Jas. 1:3). This patience perfects and strengthens our faith to endure difficulties in the future.
  • Hupomonē is connected with our hope. When trouble comes and we face it with unwavering trust in God it produces “patience” and patience produces experience which produces “hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). Humans are capable of enduring incredible hardship when they possess hope. When hope for a better future remains we can endure outward suffering because we enjoy inward comfort (Rom. 15:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:3).
  • Hupomonē is connected with joy. Beyond just hoping for a better tomorrow, the Christian can suffer trouble and persecution with joy in present. The Christian life is marked by joy and thanksgiving despite difficult circumstances (Col. 1:11-12).
  • How can a person be joyful, possess such hope, endure trials with such faith? Because the most common use of hupomonē in the New Testament is in connection with the  goal of glory. For the Christian, the greatest things are to come after this life (Lk. 21:19; Rom. 2:7; Heb. 10:36; 12:1; 2 Tim. 2:10,12; Jas. 1:12; 5:11; etc.).

Hupomonē is not simply the patience which waits passively for the storm to pass. It is the spirit which stares down the storm. It is the spirit which bears difficulty, not with resignation, but with blazing hope because it knows glory is coming. Hupomonē is not the grim patience that waits for the end but the radiant patience that hopes for a new beginning. Hupomonē is the background upon which courage and glory are painted. Hupomonē is what keeps your feet stubbornly, joyfully plodding on against the wind. Hupomonē is what transforms the hardest trials into quests for victory. Hupomonē is that grit and determination within Christians in the first century that enabled them to deny Caesar as Lord and affirm Jesus as Lord.

Hupomonē is what enabled Paul and Silas to not just endure being beaten with the absence of murmuring but to explode in joyful songs of praise in the darkness of their jail cell (Acts 16:22-25). Hupomonē is what empowered the apostles after being flogged for speaking in the name of Jesus to rejoice “that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” It’s what motivated them to continue “every day, in the temple and from house to house, [to keep] right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42)

Hupomonē can endow parents to stay committed to the love, hard work, patience and discipline that their children need when times of trouble come (Eph. 6:1-4). Hupomonē can keep married couples devoted to one another in faithfulness, purity and self-sacrifice when there seems to be no love left in the marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Hupomonē can allow a spirit of joyful obedience to move the employee to serve his employer (Eph. 6:5-8) and the employer to be fair to his employees (Eph. 6:9). 

Hupomonē can keep the ship of faith sailing through storms of doubt and fear. But how is hupomonē developed? As we orient our lives toward the cross, trials will come but through those trials, our faith is being built up. Hope will increase and joy will abound as we look forward to the glory of being with our Lord.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

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