Only You and God
#Only You and God Devotional
Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 4:16-18):
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
During the formation of the early church, there were times where thousands were added to their numbers daily. Miracles happened and the Word of God spread in places like the valley of Sharon where for thirty miles everyone believed. Paul at a very trying time writes that he found himself at a place where no one came to support him, everyone deserted him.
Now, when we read this, we might be tempted to think that Paul is exaggerating. When Paul says no one came he is right that no one put their neck on the line and no one use the opportunity of his trial to testify of the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. Anyone who spoke on behalf of Paul would be imprisoned if they were not Roman citizens and possibly be killed for their faith as well. Many people loved Paul, but the fear of losing their lives was too strong, and their belief that supporting Paul would make no difference in an unjust justice system meant no one showed up. He is all alone making a defense for the very cause he used to persecute.
“May it not be held against them.” In this moment of weakness, to respond with this kind of grace, where does it come from? It comes from Jesus. May it not be held against them, this is the very example of Christ in Paul. As Jesus would ask for forgiveness for the very ones fighting over his clothes at the crucifixion (Luke 23:34).
The Lord is with you and His promise is that He will never leave you, He will never forsake you and He will give sufficient grace for the trials you go through. In the trials is where the testimony becomes God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.
“And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”
This may either mean that he was delivered from Nero, compared with a lion, or literally that he was saved from being thrown to lions in the amphitheater, as was common in Rome; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:32. Maybe it was both that he was saved from Nero who in turn would have thrown him to the lions.
So, verse 18 has been misunderstood by many perhaps because it is pulled out of context in isolation of what is written around it. This doesn’t mean that Christians on this planet would not be killed by evil attacks. In Paul’s life this wasn’t the case either- he was later killed for his faith. What Paul is saying here is found in tandem with the and portion of the statement. “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. None of the evil designs formed against me to make me unfaithful or unsteady, to cause me to save my life at the expense of faith shall succeed; my life may go, but he will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.
The Greek word for rescue here is the same Greek word used when Jesus prayed “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
So, we can see rescued from the evil one- avoiding the temptation to save my own neck while on trial.
So, we need to read this verse as this: Whatever may come- my salvation is secure in Jesus (2 Timothy 4:18). Believers will be kept safe in order that we might fulfill all the plans God has for us and in the end we will be brought safely into His heavenly Kingdom.