“The Bible is an enduring witness of patience and a source of great comfort.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 29, 2023
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4, NKJV
As Christians, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a united and faithful witness to the transforming love of God in and through Jesus Christ. And while each of our individual stories is unique, original, and unrepeatable, there are still human experiences that are shared universally across time and space. And in this way, the Scriptures are, for every generation, a source of inspiration and guidance.
More specifically, in Romans 15, St. Paul reminds us that the Scriptures, which for him would have only been a reference to the Old Testament, are an enduring witness of patience and a source of comfort. Today I’d like to briefly reflect on these two traits that he calls out, and why they are, for us, a source of great hope.
Throughout the Old Testament, we encounter many people who patiently wait for God. Imperfect as they certainly were, Abraham and Sarah showed patience as they waited for God to fulfill his promise to them. Job patiently endured in the face of incredible trial and loss. And Esther patiently waited in the courts of the King for the redemption of her people. However, Scripture is not only a witness to the patience of God’s people, but it is all the more an account of God’s patience with his rebellious and wayward children. Though he would be justified and fair to be harsh in his ruling toward us, he is instead longsuffering and slow to anger. As St. Peter reminds us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV).
In a similar and related way, Scripture reminds us of the comfort of God, meeting his people in their distress. The Lord is with Joseph in Egypt, Moses in the Wilderness, and Daniel in the Lion’s Den, offering comfort in the face of incredible trials. So too, we find our Lord Jesus offering comfort to Mary and Martha as they grieve their brother’s death, to the thief crucified on his right, comforting him as he took his final breath, and inviting each of us to come to him, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
Scripture is a historical record of God’s faithfulness in the past, yet let us never forget that it is a means by which he, by his Spirit, invites us into a life of patience and comfort at this very moment.
Father, thank you that your patience and comfort that we see in the Bible reaches us in this present hour. Help us to know and receive this truth today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Consider reading in greater detail one or two of the stories of patience and comfort mentioned in today’s devotional.
Bethany Barnard: Comfort
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