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He Who Raises the Dead

This past Sunday we talked about faith in the God who raises the dead. Abraham believed in God because he knew that God could bring life out of death. Paul tells us in Romans 4:23 that the account of Abraham was written and recorded for our benefit. Paul learned from Abraham’s example and put it into practice.

Indeed, we feel that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 2:9

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about the incredible hardship and trial he and those with him suffered. He wrote that they were so burdened and discouraged by their affliction that they, “despaired of life itself.” They were so overwhelmed by the persecution they experienced in Asia that they were sure they would die. They were pushed beyond their ability to survive on their own. They had no strength left.

What was the purpose of this hardship and pain? Was it to make them look deeper inside of themselves to see if they could muster up the strength to survive? No! Paul clearly states that God allowed them to suffer this way so that they would realize they had no power to withstand it. They could not look to themselves or work hard enough to overcome it. Too often when we are faced with hard life situations we try and handle them on our own. We want to overcome it in our strength and ability. However, we serve a God who raises the dead and has promised to help His children. God brings life out of death. He is far more capable of handling my difficulties than I am. I need to rely on Him, not on my own strength.

Where are you setting your hope? In Romans 4 we see that Abraham looked at his situation and realized that he and Sarah were completely incapable of having a son. Abraham and Sarah had tried everything they could think of to help bring about the promise; however, God did not fulfill the promise until they were completely dependent upon Him. Paul and his companions despaired of life itself, and God did not deliver them until their hope was completely set upon Him. The same God who kept His promise to Abraham and delivered Paul from affliction is the same God we trust in today. May we set our hope completely on Him and say as Paul did:

He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 2.10

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