I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
II Timothy 4:7
Paul was faithful to the faith: “I have kept the faith.” Not only is faith itself a fight (“fight the good fight of faith”), but we are also to contend for the faith. So he was also faithful to the fight: “I have fought a good fight.” And he was faithful to the finish: “I have finished my course.”
Some are faithful to the faith, sound in belief, orthodox in doctrine, but are not faithful to the fight, do not contend for the faith. But Paul was “set for the defense of the Gospel,” and because some have not been so minded, apostasy has taken over many a church and school. Still others are faithful to the faith and to the fight, but they give up the battle and do not endure unto the end; they are not faithful to the finish. We grow weary in well-doing all too soon. Paul did not soften up in old age and drift into that smiling tolerance which so many today think is a mark of broadminded maturity.
We are in deep need of three-way faithfulness, to the faith, to the fight, to the finish.
Lord an Lepers
A lord…said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? …And there were four leprous men…and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
II Kings 7:2,3
The “Lord” ridiculed the idea that the siege of Samaria could be lifted and its famine relieved, but The Lord used lepers, of all people, to make the venture of desperation that brought deliverance. Truly, God keeps His secrets from the wise and prudent and reveals them unto babes. While King Jehoram and his experts and generals were at wit’s end, God used the means least expected to turn the tide. It was not the wise, mighty, and noble who relieved Samaria but the base and despised. And while lords laughed, lepers demonstrated the power of God.
How often has the Almighty by-passed the high and mighty and confounded the experts, while some lowly soul on the verge of despair has put us all to shame by marching straight ahead in holy desperation to discover what the rest of us only debate! God proves Himself by raising up son nonentity who is willing to risk everything on a venture to show what god can do. While lords make light of it, lepers make history.
“Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” “Prove me now herewith, saith The Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven.” Which will you believe, “a lord” or The Lord?