Considering God in the Midst of Our Adversities

Job 2:10; Ecclesiastes 7:14
       What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
       In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Consider. Consider what? This, that “God also hath set the one over against the other,” and, therefore, thou must take the one as well as the other.

WILHELMUS à BRAKEL (1635-1711): Consider where your affliction originates. It does not originate with yourself, for you love yourself too much for this. It does not originate with men, for they cannot so much as move without the will of God, nor pull one of your hairs out. Rather, it is the Lord Himself who sends this upon you—the sovereign Lord whose hand none can stay and to whom no one can say, “What doest Thou?” It is your reconciled Father in Christ who sends this upon you in His wisdom, goodness, and love, doing so to your advantage. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth,” Hebrews 12:9.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): All the injuries and unkind usages we meet with from the world, do not fall out by chance, but are disposed of by the all-wise God for our good. Many are like the foolish cur that snarls at the stone, never looking to the hand that threw it—if we looked higher than instruments our hearts would grow meek and calm. David looked beyond Shimei’s rage: “Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him,” 2 Samuel 16:11. What wisdom for Christians to see the hand of God in all the barbarisms and incivilities of men! Job eyed God in his affliction, and that meekened his spirit: “The Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21. He does not say, The Chaldeans have taken away, but “The Lord hath taken away.”—Whoever brings an affliction, it is God that sends it.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): I would therefore take all things as coming from God, that they may lead me to God.

WILLIAM CAREY (1761-1834): God has sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases. We ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Shall we poor worms give laws to our supreme Lord and Governor, and oblige him always to bless and favour us, and never to afflict us?

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Observe from the words: “Should it be according to thy mind?” Job 34:33. Folks would have God guiding the world according to their mind and will. There is not a more unreasonable thing to seek to take the guiding of the world out of God’s hand, and yet this is the ground of our fretting and complaining, and not submitting to God, because we get not our will. Therefore when the heart rises, say to yourselves, “Should dispensations come as you would, or as God would?”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): We must bear our daily afflictions with submission to His will; We are bid to expect trouble in the flesh, something or other happens every day that grieves us, something in our relations, something in our callings, events concerning ourselves, our families, or friends, that are matters of sorrow: perhaps we have every day some bodily pain or sickness; or, some cross and disappointment in our affairs; now in these we must wait upon God. Christ requires it of all His disciples, that they take up their cross daily, Matthew 16:24…It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, “this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it,” but “this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God.”

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Consider the design of affliction. Without this, you cannot discharge the duty of the condition. For what is this duty? It is not only to possess your souls with patience―it is not only to submit yourselves under the mighty hand of God―but to acquiesce in the pleasure of the Almighty. It is not to say, “This is my grief, and I must bear it;” but, “Here I am, let him do what seemeth Him good,” 2 Samuel 15:26. Nothing less is required of you, as Christians, than a willing, cheerful resignation. But this can only flow from a knowledge of Him that smiteth you. You may yield, but you cannot acquiesce, without confidence in Him.

THOMAS WATSON: What made Christ so meek in His sufferings? He did not look at Judas or Pilate, but at His Father.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): We forbid not the consideration of instruments and secondary causes. Let them be observed―but do not stop there. Do not finish off with these dumb messengers whom the Lord sends; they are sent for the very purpose of inviting you to a conference, secret and personal, with Himself.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): When faith is not in exercise, the heart is occupied with the things which are seen and temporal: only the creature’s hand or the creature’s treachery is viewed, and peevishness and resentment prevail; or worse still, we are tempted to entertain hard thoughts against God, and to say “the Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The Scripture gives us ground of comfort from the Author of our afflictions, who is our Father, and never manifests the comfort of adoption so much as then when we are under chastening: “The exhortation which speaketh unto you as children,” Hebrews 12:5. And again, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. It is a bitter cup, but it is from a father, not from a judge or an enemy. Nothing but good can come from Him who is love and goodness itself; nothing but what is useful from a father, whose affection is not to be measured by the bitterness of the dispensation, but by His aims, what He intends.

MATTHEW HENRY: Good men, even when God frowns upon them, think well of Him.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Does He not love us, and does He not know what is best for us? Oh, for grace to remember, not only when His dispensations are agreeable to the flesh, but also when they are painful and flesh-crucifying, that the Lord reigneth, that the Lord is our Father, and to praise the Lord. I believe that there is nothing that honours God more, or that God more honours, than praising Him in tribulation; and few men know what a talent He commits to their charge when He gives them bitter water. When did Paul ever honour God more than when at midnight, in the inner prison, his back cut to pieces by the Roman whips, and his feet made fast in the stocks, he prayed, and sang praises unto God? And when did God ever honour Paul more than when, through the instrumentality of those prayers and praise, he brought the jailor to his feet with question, “What shall I do to be saved?”


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