Theme: Examples of God’s Preservation
In this week’s lessons, we are reminded of the many ways God shows his protective care, and of our privilege to praise him for his goodness.
Scripture: Psalm 124:1-8
If the Lord had not been on our side, we should never have escaped the snares our enemies set for us. And those are only external, physical things! What about sin and its punishment? What if God had not intervened to save us from sin by the death of Jesus Christ? If Jesus had not died in our place, taking our punishment upon himself, we would be under God’s just wrath and judgment and would surely suffer for our sins forever. Instead, we can say, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
What if God had not intervened to keep us on the path of discipleship? We are like Peter who would have fallen away and been lost if Jesus had not interceded for him. Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31, 32). It is hard to miss seeing that in these words Jesus does not call Peter by the name he gave him, Peter, meaning “stone.” He uses his former name to call attention to his weakness. And Peter was weak. He thought he was strong enough to stand by Jesus no matter what might happen. But when the time of testing came he denied Jesus three times. Peter would have fallen away completely as a result of his failure and humiliation were it not for Jesus’ prayers for him. But Jesus did pray, and later he also came to Peter to recommission him for service.
What about our work for Christ? What if God had not preserved the value of our labor for him? It would all have gone for nothing. Our lives would have been without any meaning at all. We remember that even Moses prayed, “Establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Ps. 90:17).
And what about death? Death, too, is sometimes pictured as a flood that rises up to engulf the living and perhaps carry them away. The Bible views death as a very great enemy, but God promises to walk with us through death’s waters. More than that, he promises a resurrection beyond:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55, 56). King David wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps. 23:4).
Why does Jesus call Peter his former name in Luke 22:31, 32? How does Jesus keep Peter on the path of discipleship?
How does God’s intervention affect your view of life and death?
Reflection: Do you sometimes fall into the trap of believing that your steadfastness is dependent upon your own strength or efforts to persevere in holiness? Instead, where should your trust be?
Prayer: Thank God that he keeps you on the path of discipleship. Ask his blessing on the work of your hands.
Application: How has the Lord intervened for you in the past?