Thursday, February 25, 2010

Though you can't see it with the naked eye...

Romans 8:36 has always been a puzzle to me. "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." It seems to be plopped down in the middle of a declaration about our security in Christ. So, what part of "As it is written" do I not understand?

Pastor taught Ps 44 on Wednesday, and lo and behold, there it was indeed written. There seemed to be a similarity in contexts, but a remarkable contrast in perspective.

The Psalm rehearsed the wonderful deliverances that God had accomplished for Israel in the past. The Psalmist declared God to be his King and his only depository of hope, the boast of Israel and the banner they followed into battle.

Then he laments. He felt that God had cast them off, shamed them, abandoned their armies, made them a laughing stock, given them over to be literally conquered rather than to conquer. He admits confusion, since Israel had not turned away from following God (during this time) or put their hope in another country or another god. Why had God deserted them? They were God's special ones. His last appeal is for God to awake, arise, remember them in their oppression and redeem them. Right before this appeal comes the verse in consideration,"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." In this context I understand the verse.

The Old Testament understanding of blessing seems to be, if you do what is right before God, He will bless. According to the covenants, this would be right and logical. As Pastor Daniel used to say, "If you want to be blessed, you must first be blessable." Therefore the confusion in the mind of the Psalmist. Therefore the confusion in the minds of Job and his sorry friends. Therefore the question of WDBTHTGP? Frustration inside the box! Sorrow and despair.

Pastor Rich made the tie in with Romans 8. Interesting context. We are not condemned in Christ. We no longer walk after the flesh, or seek deliverance in it. It is weak, and we owe it nothing. We walk in the Spirit, having received righteousness and life through Christ's atoning and substitutionary and death. God has put his Spirit in us and made us his children, giving us freedom from bondage, making us His heirs, and promising that if we would suffer with Christ, we would also be glorified.

Now the perspective from outside the box,"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Next the apostle acknowledges trials and troubles as the Psalmist did. We haven't received the glory, but are subject to vanity. We groan with the rest of creation waiting for the redemption of our body. But we hope in God, and the Spirit helps our infirmities and weaknesses. We don't even know how to pray for ourselves, but the Spirit intercedes for us. God knows the mind of the Spirit who makes intercession for the saints, and makes ALL things work together for good so that His predestined ones will be made into the likeness of Christ. Though we have tribulations WE KNOW HE IS FOR US, for He gave us his Son. Since He died for us, we know he doesn't condemn us but rather intercedes for us. Though we experience tribulations, distress, persecution, famine and worse, (here it is) "as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Though you can't see it with the naked eye. It doesn't appear so to the natural man, but the spiritual man can see it.) Nobody, nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Even though our eyes may suggest differently here inside the box, Romans gives us the "out of the box" perspective. There is purpose.

And that is why I love Uncle Tom's Cabin.


  1. I know,hunh. The psalm writer saw the disaster and felt that God had thrown them away. Paul saw the cross in the midst of terrible trial and loss and knew that in spite of all, God was for them.

  2. When you're killed all the day long, it doesn't seem like you are more than a conqueror.

  3. I love Uncle Tom's Cabin too. He is what I want to be when I grow up. When his life got worse and worse, his home in heaven became more and more real. What Uncle Tom had, no one could take away.