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Harm or No Harm?

March 3rd, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 21 (NLT)

 21 No harm comes to the godly,
      but the wicked have their fill of trouble.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Have you ever read something in the Bible and then thought to yourself, “Wait, how can that be?”  To read the phrase, “No harm comes to the godly . . . ” seems a little out of sorts in today’s world.

Anyone who claims to have a relationship with God can attest to the fact that living this life is not always a stroll down easy street.  Just consider the unfortunate things that happen to those who are attempting to follow God.  Depression.  Anxiety.  Sickness.  Accidents.  Disease.  Hardship.  Confusion.  Death.

Ouch!  Wow, what an uplifting Thread today.  But wait, it gets worse.  I can’t read this passage without thinking of the atrocities going on all over the world, especially towards Christians.  In the past few months in The Congo, thousands of Christians have been slaughtered by rebels . . . caught in the crossfire of intertribal warfare.  Just a few weeks ago, rebels surrounded a church in which a group of Christians were gathered for an all-night prayer meeting and set fire to it with the people still trapped inside.  Pastors have been murdered, leaving behind their wives and children.  Tens of thousands are hiding out in jungles or seeking help in refugee camps.

How can the Bible say that no harm comes to the godly?  It would appear that harm surrounds us!

Hardship is a common Biblical theme for those who know Christ.  Almost all of the original disciples were eventually tortured and executed for their faith.  Even Jesus Himself suffered rejection by most of the people of His day, anxiety so heavy that He sweat blood, weariness so severe that even a storm couldn’t wake Him, betrayal by two of His closest friends, the shame of hanging naked on a cross for His enemies, family, and friends to behold, and death by the most painful means: crucifixion . . . which shares the root word with our word “excruciating.”  The cross that Jesus had to face was literally the very definition of ultimate pain.

How do you think Jesus interprets this passage?  Would He agree that no harm comes to the godly?

The truth of this passage lies in the context and definition of the word “harm.”  The idea isn’t that we won’t face any trouble, but rather that the ultimate harm will not overtake us.  Eternity is the key paradigm of faith.  Within the context of eternity, “harm” exists in a different light.  The hardship of the temporal only makes sense in light of the perpetual.  For example, would you be willing to live for five months in a tent in the jungles of Ecuador if you were guaranteed ten million dollars every other day for the rest of your life? 

Sure you would!  The Bible says that even Jesus endured the hardships of this world because of the “joy that was set before Him.”  The Bible also says that the troubles of this life cannot be compared to the amazing things in store for us in eternity.  Like the five months in the jungle, it will sure seems worth it when you’ve flown in a private jet everyday for twenty-five years.  Multiply that times infinity . . . that’s the concept of eternal reward versus earthly suffering.

So there’s harm . . . and then there’s harm.  The harm that won’t befall the godly is the ultimate harm, not the temporary issues we face here on earth.  Are these issues difficult?  Sure they are; but that’s why He promises to never leave us.  In addition to the long list of negative issues we listed earlier, the Christian also gets some other things as well.  Joy.  Love.  Forgiveness.  Peace. Guidance.  Comfort.  Purpose.  Fulfillment.  Relationship.  Significance.  Legacy.

Is there harm?  Yes.  Is there a stack of benefits?  Most definitely.  Therefore, we can face life here and the life to come with the assurance that though harm will come to the godly, no harm will come to the godly.  Nice.






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