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9 months 4 weeks ago #9587 by thaiwohvista

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18.
17. But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
18. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us

MEMORISE: But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you - even I, Paul, time and again - but Satan hindered us (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18)

The snake/serpent stands for Satan in the Bible. When Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 that "Satan hindered" him from meeting up personally with the Christians in Thessalonica, what did he mean? It is likely the hindrances could be related to episodes in Acts 17, where Paul, Silas and Timothy were persecuted by the Jews for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles in Thessalonica and then in Berea. These hindrances could also refer to other persecutions that Paul encountered in his missionary journeys. Whichever the case, it is clear that Satan was allowed by the Almighty to mess with the plans of His saints. Nevertheless, Paul's response to such hindrances was not one of despair, or anger towards God. Instead, he assessed the situation and sent one of his most abled team player (Timothy) to discover what was going on in the faith of the Christians in Thessalonica. The result: Paul himself was highly encouraged by Timothy's reports (cf. 1 Thess. 3:6-7). So, despite Satan's hindrances, God is still winning victories along the path of His will.
How should we respond when we suffer persecution? Should we lose faith, thinking that such hindrances shouldn't happen in the first place? Or should we persevere to please God? Besides Paul, Job is a case in point. Perhaps, the most admirable thing about Job is the faith he carried with him, even in the direst of circumstances. A faith which allowed him to be immersed in a deep and humbling conversation with the Almighty in the midst of his pains. Job must have cherished such an intimate conversation with the Lord more than what was restored in his fortunes, family and status.
A lot to learn about the mysterious ways of God. A lot to learn from saints of the past. No less, we can be encouraged this day as 1 Thessalonians offered the great certainty that even as God's ways are not our ways, those who are steadfast in Him will not be disappointed (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-17). Let us therefore continue to persevere, rejoice, and encourage one another!

1. God of mysterious ways, help us, in the midst of hindrances and turbulences.
2. May Your will be done so that we can be found faithful to carry on that intimate relationship with You.
3. O Lord, cause every obstacles to the spread of the gospel to be subdued by the power of the gospel.

EXTRA READING FOR TODAY: Nehemiah 8 - 9; Hebrews 5 - 6

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