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BEWILDERMENT, BEDAZZLEMENT, BEDEVILMENT
OR THE BEAUTY OF
The COUNSEL THROUGH HISTORY
CONQUEST THROUGH FAITH
FAITH IN HIM WHO IS FAITHFUL
Perspectives from II Chronicles 19-32
with New Testament Parallel
In Chapter 2 above, we roved in II Chronicles and allied biblical passages, to find force for living, examples for illustrations of principles, applications for spiritual life, cautions and wisdom. We found focus in the then coming Messiah, now presented at first in His own presence on this earth, and since for some 2000 years, through His Word and Spirit, the account of the will, workings and dealings of God, Creator, Redeemer, Judge, and the power and life which performs FOR and IN some of His creation, that special work of adoption which makes of many, children of God.
These children do not play at this time. They have a work to do. Yet in malice, in simplicity of aspiration, in care and nurture, in education by the Father of lights, God of all comfort and mercy, they are children, and as children, they love their Father, and as godly children, each other. The marrings of wolves, of flesh which seeks to disturb, to disrupt, to defile, all these things happen; but the children of God never lose their heritage, a new heart and a new spirit and a renewal of the mind, or their open door to faith, for its workings by which mountains may be moved and in suffering and in spirituality, in sanctity and with grace, the giant graces of the kingdom of heaven may be found and used for His glory.
In this earlier survey of Kings in Chronicles, we found no less the dangers of being immersed, drowned if you will, by an inseparable substitute for spirituality in ecumenism, in a false and infelicitous spiritual imbecility, or near approach to it, which INSISTS on joining with the enemies of the word of God, the Bible, of the God of that book and its focus, Jesus Christ, Saviour through faith by grace of His elect. Even Jehoshaphat showed a leaning this way, which marred his life and through which he nearly lost it. Now let us give more attention to this great king, whose good characteristics were so notable and strong, at the head of the 7 king list of following kings whom we followed earlier, and to Hezekiah, at the end of that list, another King in righteousness of life, one of great mercy and constancy of character. From this, let us learn what felicities for faith present themselves, what warning to folly and what principles for wisdom.
I. Jehoshaphat Sees the Splendour of God's Faithfulness
II Chronicles 19-20
The flaws in the character of the mighty King Jehoshaphat were focussed last time.
Today we shall see his FAITH in operation, a conduit for the gloriously total impact of the power of God.
The event before us follows that spectacle of the treacherous Ahab, illicitly partner to Jehoshaphat in a needless war, where Jehoshaphat escaped by immediate divine grace from being surrounded as the only visible king, and killed; but tricky Ahab, despite his guile, was hit by a STRAY arrow which someone had sent into the sky in a general way. It led to his death (I Kings 22, II Chronicles 18). So does the fox find the end of his wits, before his Maker. After that Jehoshaphat secured a working judicial system in Israel, admonishing the judges (II Chronicles 19),
"Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you, take care and do it,
for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes...
Thus you will act in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a loyal heart."
They were to warn and judge righteously as for and before God.
THEN, after this faithfulness shown by the King, Moab and Ammon decided to war against the land. Great was the multitude of the aggressors. First, the people gathered TOGETHER to ask help from the Lord, then the King prayed.
Power is yours, King Jehoshaphat submitted to the Lord, and it is You who drove out the inhabitants of the land - long cited by the Lord for this judgment, cf. Abraham in Genesis 15:13-17 - and gave it to the descendants of Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8). Referring to the Temple built in His name, a focus for faith in its symbols, he brought to God the fact of the promise made if only His people come before Him in faith, with this defined faith in Him in mind and in view. That was as spoken through Solomon at the dedication of the then astoundingly wonderful temple (I Kings 8).
Let us see some of that promise before proceeding with Jehoshaphat's speech, since he referred to its content.
"Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; and he said:
'Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants
who walk before You with all their hearts.
'You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father;
You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand,
as it is this day.
'Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.
'And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true,
which You have spoken to Your servant David my father.
But will God indeed dwell on the earth?
Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.
How much less this temple which I have built!
'Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day,
toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’
that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.
And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place.
Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.
'When anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath,
and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple,
then hear in heaven, and act, and judge Your servants,
condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
'When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy
because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You
and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple,
then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel,
and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers...' "
Such was the background for this appeal of King Jehoshaphat, and he USED IT. It is a good illustration of turning disaster, awaiting its meal like a wolf licking its lips, and by faith based on divine promises in the Bible, finding resolution in triumph FOR CHRIST, of the temptation, of the confrontation, of the liability or whatever other things has asserted itself to rule, of the flesh, of any kind of subtlety of Satan. It is all one. it can and should be overcome by faith as in the promises of God, such as may be found for example in II Peter 1, where all things needful for virtue and godliness, many numbered in detail, ARE MADE AVAILABLE to the Christian BY PROMISE.
Use these things, like a car. They are there for use.
Let us now however return to the predicament of Jehoshaphat, to the trial, to the temptation indeed, for he could instead of become furious at the wild and insatiable vainglory of his enemies and set out in wrath to teach them! Instead, he prayed to God as we have just seen, and rehearsed the ACTUAL facts of the case before Him, in doing so.
From the divine promises to the particular problems, he proceeded, and cited Ammon and Moab, yes and Mt Seir also, peoples whom God did not allow Israel to attack on the way in, rewarding Israel for its restraint by seeking to take it!
"O our God, will You not judge them ?
The WHOLE covenant people stood before the Lord, including the little ones (as in Deuteronomy 29:10-12), since God not only deals with individuals, atoms, but a people, with all that is their own (molecules), and the covenant is not applicable only to those who are conscious of its meaning, for are they not people in the household of faith, though faith has not yet come! So much confusion comes on this issue that it is worth a moment's tarrying. Of course, in general there is not faith where there is not the mental equipment to know what it is about; and equally, the relationship of God depends on His will, not our wits. If HE sees fit to look upon whole FAMILIES, as relevant to Himself, the children being those of the ones who trust Him in ALL their ways and in ALL their belongings, then this is kind and realistic.
How wonderfully kind He is, and how He considers our kind, humankind, making for the parents from whom or rather through whom the children come, such provisions for sanctity, such opportunities for grace, such Samuel-like scope for impact, exhibiting such enterprise and showing such realism in dealing with the designs which after all HE made, that there is a latent tenderness and a kindly provision, shafts of light gleaming on the godly parental brow, as he or as she considers the predicaments, the needs, the challenges and the hope for the children of marriage.
It does NOT of course in itself bring the children to heaven, for we are justified by faith, and He knows who are His own before ever time was (Ephesians 1:4), but it does bring something of heaven to the child in the presence of God with their parents and about their household, and in these spiritual things the child grows, surrounded if not yet inhabited. It is foolish to deny what is manifest, simply because some go too far, in both directions, to become sacramentalists whose baptism is more than a sign, or oblivionists, who would preclude it*1.
When the whole assembly, old and young, were thus before the Lord (II Chronicles 20:13-14), a prophet spoke, Jahaziel by name.
To them all, he spoke, King included,
"Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great
That is the way with the Lord: you DEPEND on Him, and do not imagine that it is praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, a derogatory sounding dictum; for in fact, your ammunition may be dud, or misdirected, but the Lord acts. Indeed, in this case, He did not even require other action, so emphasising the ultimate source and faithful recourse which must always be uppermost in the mind and spirit. GO DOWN, they were told, and the site to attend was given.
"You will not need to fight in this battle:
position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."
POSITION YOURSELVES! what a word is that. Remember how it says of Jesus, on occasion, that when HE WAS SET, He spoke! To position yourself, to gain a sharp awareness of your orientation relative to duty, discipline, need, challenge, power, peaceableness, fearlessness, wisdom, in faith, is no minor matter. Taking courage, you act in faith, and believing, with love not irritation, with strength and not instability. What then was to follow ? Let us see.
The next morning, setting off, the King admonished the people,
"Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established…"
He appointed SINGERS to praise God "for His mercy endures forever." When this crusading choir and army reached the site told them, they found the armies were no more evident, for there had been internal fighting and vying during the night. The spoil was then collected in triumph!
FAITHFULNESS on the part of Jehoshaphat, who had ruled well (apart from his weakness), and faith with the prophet of the Lord speaking in the midst of the unified people committed to precisely what the Lord had promised! This had led to victory. The divine gift was so elaborately provided that it makes the point: fight or not, it is not you but God who is the determinant. This applies not only when we are attacked by unbelievers, wolves in the church or elsewhere, but also to the testimony we are enabled to give (Luke 21:14-19, Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3).
What is the good of having 'faith' if you do not believe (a major components of James' expostulation), and what is the good of believing if you do not secure the fruits of faith, and what is the good of fruit if it is not 'eaten', that is, to pursue the image, put to good use! Here in King Jehoshaphat we see a very keen desire to LIVE BY FAITH and to WALK by faith, and if necessary, to run by it. It is necessary to reflect that the current mere hyper-sensitivity of a non-faith masquerading as faith, of a subjective intensity which knows neither the New Testament covenant in Christ nor the reality of the power of God, being a form, a fiasco and a philosophy, as foretold in II Timothy 3:1-5, CANNOT be put to such use, since it is mere subterfuge, artifice, an exercise in the factitious.
Thus has theology its place, to seize as treasure from the Bible what it warns against, exhorts to do, and to apply this to the exercise of that faith which being biblically based, is not wasted in mere words, important as these are when not 'mere', and when directed in faith to Him whose and whose alone is the determining power!
Jehoshaphat and his history, then, has something to teach us, and his actions are like trumpets that blow music to the seeking soul, showing the NATURALNESS of living by faith, and the confusion to be bred into a life by trying to act without it, and by an imagination populated by pollutions of the flesh, additions or subtractions from the Bible, wrought in arrogance, taught in folly and detractions for those caught in those thickets (cf. I Timothy 4, II Timothy 4).
2. Hezekiah Sees the Certainty of God's Power
We turn now to the other end of our series of 7 kings examined in Part I, to find the later King Hezekiah. His father, King Ahaz, was as we have seen, deplorable, just as his son, Manasseh, was almost definitive of devilries, though he DID repent after leading to nation to the lip of the pit. Hezekiah, however, was different as light from darkness; and though there were specks of darkness here and there, the contrast was total. Faith worked in him by love (Galatians 5:6).
He had the temple cleansed and made fully functional, following the follies of idolatrous King Ahaz (29:5ff.), challenged the priests to faithfulness, the more keenly in view of the corruptions preceding his reign, removed the follies, restored the sacrificial system, the music of praise and the assembly worshipped faithfully once more (29:29). The King proceeded with his missionary messengers to idolatrous, Israel of the North and invited all to come to a vast Passover, that central symbol of the coming of the Redeemer as so abundantly shown in Isaiah 49-55.
"May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone,"
he prayed, only to follow on (italics added),
"who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers,
though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary."
Notice two things: the result came to FAITH only, and faith is not idle, for faith without works is dead, so that there was a real transaction between the people of God and the God of the people, in the heart, in view of the sacrificial atonements made. The reason for the addition about not being formally complete came because so great was the multitude and so remiss had been the previous king that some had not prepared themselves with personal sacrifices as they should have done. Despite strong efforts to cover all cases, Hezekiah with care asked the Lord in mercy to overlook any ritual failures, provided the hearts were keen and ready!
Such were the ways of merciful King Hezekiah. Then his test came, his also. How different is the message of Isaiah 7 from that of Isaiah 37, regarding the 2 Kings. Ahaz equivocated, Hezekiah personally went with the letter of challenge from the King of the mighty Empire of Assyria, to the Temple. He individually spread it out before the Lord, and asked for the way (Isaiah 37:14-20).
It cannot be too strongly pressed that minds are given us from the Lord for a purpose, and like Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah gave grounds for his prayer, and those from the word of the Lord. Just as Sennacherib of Assyria had boasted of overcoming nations, and their gods, and had put Israel in prospect for the same treatment, SO he had given King Hezekiah fatal ammunition against his rampaging and attacks (Isaiah 37:10ff.). Thus he could and did present these thigns to the Lord:
"You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made the heaven and earth ...
Hear, open Your eyes, O LORD,
and see, and hear all the words of Sennacherib
which he has sent to reproach the living God."
Indeed, said the King, the gods of the nations consumed by this assailant were no gods at all:
"Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD, You alone" (bold added).
Notice his private devotions, his self-discipline before all of this in multiple services to his nation, his care not to merely wrangle with the crusading Assyrian King, his care with the facts of the case, his humble petition to God on the basis of truth and fact, and in terms of what would be shown by the divine intervention which he sought; and got!
The case resembled that of Jehoshaphat in this, that a strange devastation hit the Assyrian camp and the army was largely destroyed, the proud monarch having to retreat, only to be killed, according to report, by his sons, some 18 years later: ironically, it seems in one of the temples of the false gods in his own land. This defeat is noted in the National Geographic, February 2008 in an article on the black African kings who for a notable time took over Egypt. It may be that one of these Nubian kings pressed Sennacherib hard enough, and indeed Ethiopia menaced him; but that Assyrian was soon demolished in his pride and power, in an amazing defeat, foretold by the Lord, and acknowledged as pivotal in the Geographic coverage, so giving Judah time over many more years, to strengthen herself.
The words of the Lord are magnificent, as given by Isaiah to Hezekiah before the fight:
"Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard,
with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.
"Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."
This fits superbly with possible Nubian menace, but the devastation of his camp was a vast work of the Lord, the angel of the Lord killing of his host, 185,000, leaving but corpses (Isaiah 37:36). Notice the tenor of Isaiah's retort to the proud King, a glimpse of Hitler before his time, as he sought to smash Judah:
"The virgin, the daughter of
Has despised you, laughed you to scorn,
The daughter or Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back!"
It is glorious to read this prelude to the Lord's pre-emptive strike in Isaiah 37:21ff.. It reminds one of the work of God in fulfilling the words, this in our time, of Zechariah 12, even though Israel the nation has not yet come back in large numbers as foretold to occur after its return, in an act of simple faithfulness. 1948 was a marvel of Israel's survival, 1969 a wonder of exploit, just as identified in advance, and 1973 saw an Egyptian army, AFTER a holy day attack, surrounded on the FAR SIDE of the Suez Canal. As also predicted, Israel on return was still outside the faith of the Lord's Christ (Ezekiel 36:24-25), and it was purely HIS faithfulness to promise that brought them back (36:26), but His care is His business, and His plan for history likewise, and just as it is composed by Him, so is it executed. Assyria of old gives pause to Iran of the present, similarly in bombast unspeakable, daring to threaten Israel with extinction.
Some never learn, and the enemies of the Lord may imagine that because in love God gave His only begotten Son to die for sin, that judgment ceases to exist. On the contrary, when this salvation is derided, so too are the credentials of those who do so, for only by mercy can any find God, and only by the blood of His sacrifice, often prefigured, but finally wrought in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17-21), has it been shed for man; and even then, it may be received ONLY BY FAITH.
Presumptuous entry on any other basis not merely ignores history, but compounds sin with distortion (John 3:36). Sennacherib similarly vaunted his own power, not knowing that he had merely been given a temporary role in the provisions of God (Isaiah 37:26-29). Even though God raised up this imperious king and kingdom, and had disciplined Israel to the North, yet this confrontation by the very instrument He had used, was impermissible. He would now show His concern for His ancient people and His derision of the pride*1A of this pestiferous puppy, the King of Assyria. His role had come: it soon passed.
God acted; indeed He does act for those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:5), and so receive and assimilate what He has for man (Titus 2-3).
We must learn to fear nothing, but God; to bring our cases to Him in His own terms and in those of His word, and to await what is best to bring His name, glory and grace to those with whom we have to do.
Through such things, history has turned, like an expert dancer, with splendid footwork, sometimes hardly noticed; but the result is noticed as the dance progresses! Through such things nations have arisen and fallen, and the fad of making of faith - faith in the objective Christ, Son of the Almighty who has begotten the subjects who in confusion can become merely subjective, disdaining the reality of their own lives available in the God who made them - into some lesser thing is manifest. For many, meddling with synthesis of the Bible and the blights of unbelief, or the vanities of imagination, melding purity and pollution as if possessed, what is this ? It is to make of faith a mere fiasco, a feeling or a privacy potion as if there could be nothing real (as foolish as it would be to imagine that there was nothing personal).
As great nations fall, the current custom, and large churches in increasing numbers betray the faith, let no one imagine that the results will not be equally real, as when inexpert dancers trip, and those who care nothing for design, clumsily display their wilful inabilities. The gift of life is FREE, and those who will not accept it need not complain that it costs too much. Cost ? It is not coin or aristocracy which is needed, but accession of Christ as Lord, succession of sin into the slump of the dump, where it belongs, covered by Christ, and the reliance on the One who is reliable, having made all reality, and has life covered.
There lies rest, not in restless substitutes and inane innovations, as if what no one else did, could be done by mental gymnastics, or covering what none but God can, or does freely cover, were a matter of negotiation. Leave that to the devil. Let life be found in Him who made it, as surely in the first birth, for the fleshly format, as in the second birth, for the adoption to the glorious position of children of God. Reality does not wait to be imagined; it is already greater than can be imagined, and therefore in God we trust, for His it is, and it is His creation, whose information is not only IN our cells, but FOR our eyes, if they be not closed, where only has the verified wonder of the Speaker to be seen, and without inhibition found*1A.
Having found faith, then, inspired by such examples as the Bible presents, let us be found faithful.
3. Christ Shows the Sublimity of Divine Faithfulness
A short look
at the Divine Faithfulness of Christ,
who as God showed God, remains.
How faithful was He who outfaced the confronting devil himself, met him decisively and incisively with the covenantal word of God, in the temptation (Matthew 4), who when confronted with the educated wits of unbelieving religious savants, confounded them with His answers till they did not dare to query Him any more (Matthew 22:46). In this case, He had just asked THEM a question: How is it, was the thrust, that IF the Christ is simply a descendant of David (that is, not God as man but mere man), that David in the predictive Psalm 110 concerning Him, calls Him Lord! What father does this to his son! The point: Christ is the LORD of all, and using the seed of man for incarnation, requires faith in Him by all, not as some man, but as God definitive in flesh.
‘Faithful and true’ is His name in Rev. 19, and such it is! Rely on HIM! HIS faithfulness is the stark archetype and indeed original, true without shrinking, kind without losing one phase of feature, reliable to the uttermost, incapable of failure, for here is man's rest and the basis of any faithfulness he may himself receive by the grace of God: ask and receive! HIS is the site and the source for it, and from Him we learn and in Him grow, for He is even faithful enough to pardon our offences and secure our salvation within the veil (Micah 7:19ff., Hebrews 6:19ff., Ephesians 1:11), where no wild boar or pig can come, no wolf, nor any army nor any invasion.
Thus having loved His own, we read in John 13, He loved them to the end. Judas only was lost, foretold devil and deceiver, as in John 6:70, known to Christ long before the betrayal, and indeed shown in Zechariah 500 years before – (11:12-13, with Psalms 41, 69, 109). Jesus Christ did not grow too disgusted to serve and to save, when betrayed for a little time even by Peter, nor did He waste time haranguing that disciple, but just LOOKED at him (Luke 23:61).
As good shepherd, He did not merely talk about laying down His life for the sheep, or go only so far, but went to the Cross, well able to have denied that He was the Son of God (Mark 14:61ff.), but keen to the end to be true to His people, to His godly vocation as Saviour, His work as Shepherd, His sacrificial act of atonement, providing redemption freely by being bound (Titus 2-3, Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 3).
“Mercy shall be built up for ever:
Your faithfulness You will establish in the very heavens,” (Psalm 89).
God never fails (Zechariah 3:5).
If judgment must begin at the house of God*2, let us be ready like Hezekiah and cleansed, that we may serve instead of being spiritual hospital cases! Let us be faithful, for what is worse than NOT being so! to be in word one thing, in deed another, to be in aspiration on one path, in conduct on another, to be vested with responsibility and to forsake its calling, to be envisaged as sound and to be frittered into mere fancy! If perfection cannot be expected (I John 1:7-8), yet sincerity must be, and if failures occur, yet these are to be short-circuited in pardon and power (I John 1:9-2:2, 5:4), and not allowed to defile the result.
There is work to be done, for the night is coming when no man can work! (John 9:4). Let us rejoice and exalt the Lord, and let HIM be worshipped, His word followed and no other! Let God be God, and the Lord be Lord, and no other! “For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) and as to those who will not receive Him, the wrath of God looms over them (John 3:36)*3.
“For there is no other name
The world crumbles under its own spiritual
Its resources are polluted, rifled, and
wars erupt to spoil them further;
Its civilisation exalts itself, while
Its philosophies destroy themselves in
ambiguities, equivocations, contradictions;
It laughs at life, but cannot make it;
it distorts life and cannot correct
its own mischiefs;
it soars to the skies, and falls to the pit:
for there is no other name but One,
Jesus Christ who foreseeing all, foretold what was to be, and now that it is,
is soon to return, the conditions fulfilled.
It is as if an aircraft coming to a city, passed first this, and then that of many landmarks, making the situation clear. In this case, for the unbeliever, appallingly, so that eyes must be closed; for the believer, refreshingly clear, so that the heart must be kept open, keeping ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21), looking with faith to eternal life (Philippians 3:20-21) and seeking the lost to the end.
*1 Cf. Colossians 2:11-13.
On these and related issues, see:
Questions and Answers 2.
Baptism and Covenant -
Questions and Answers 11 for a fuller and more general treatment, as also
The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 5 and
What is the Chaff to the Wheat Ch. 1.
See Light Dwells with the Lord' s Christ.
As to the pestiferous puppy, God is already on record that it is His own power that will similarly kill the deadly dynamic of the invasion to come for Israel (cf. It Bubbles Ch. 10, SMR pp. 510ff., Micah 7:14ff., Luke 21:24 ), and hence this makes our present interest in history the more fascinating in our contemporary situation. It is customary for unbelief in 'wisdom' to be foolish, discarding the cards of truth, and ignoring the warnings of overpowering testimony of simple fact over thousands of years (see Light Dwells ... above). The results are devastating, as Sennacherib, now a byword, despite his intense power, bluster and cluster of nations under him, found out, step by step, until his murder by his sons.
It is good to be steeped in the Bible's testimonies, just as it is well to know acutely a computing 'language' for conscientious programming. It is well to see the point of 'rejoicing with trembling' as in Psalm 2, before the most delightful, holy and pure God, as in I Peter 4, and to see the aspects, like fiery facets of a brilliantly lit diamond, that relate to persecution and purification, to keep all things in the divine perspective. As when driving, it is an encroachment of folly, if one begins to lose it, seeing some things, and ignoring others!
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, in that you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory will be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
"If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed;
but let him glorify God on this behalf.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
"And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God
commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing,
as to a faithful Creator."
See Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 10.