Know Your Bible-Expanded Edition: All 66 Books Books Explained and Applied - eBook
Paul Kent

Know Your Bible-Expanded Edition: All 66 Books Books Explained and Applied - eBook

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Appetizer: Don't Give Up

The subject of this study is endurance... how you can outlast a hard time. According to this verse, we do it by gaining encouragement from the Scriptures:

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4  
Let's look at another passage that discusses that in more detail:

Hebrews 12:1-3

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12:1-3  
The "cloud of witnesses" are not people from the Bible watching us from Heaven, but testimonies from the Bible itself witnessing to us about about God's salvation in their lives.
This "grow weary" means to "get tired". I don't think that getting tired is the main problem, though... it is just the milepost on the way to losing heart (giving up). We'll talk more about that in a minute...
Jesus was able to endure because He knew the outcome of what he was going to have to suffer through... our salvation! That joy was why He endured the Cross.

Hebrews 5:7-10

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:7-10  
This "suffered" means "to have a painful experience". In this specific case it refers to Christ's suffering in his trials and everything that led up to the Cross (it is the word Jesus used to refer to that upcoming event).
God doesn't send suffering into our lives in an attempt to teach us something, but we can take those experiences and learn something from them. Jesus used this hard time as an opportunity to learn obedience... Jesus had something to learn about obedience! More about that in a minute...
It is interesting to find out that Jesus actually prayed "with loud cries and tears"! I believe this Scripture is talking about an aspect of the Garden of Gethsemane that is not addressed in the Gospels... but Jesus wasn't crying and pleading for his own life. When you look at this passage in context of the chapter, you find out that Jesus was crying and pleading on behalf of His disciples. That's how He could have been "heard" and yet still crucified... his prayer wasn't for Himself, but for others. Read about it for yourself in 
Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46. Notice—no mention of "loud cries and tears". But we do have an example of a prayer Jesus prayed for his followers; Jesus prayed the prayer recorded in John 17:1-26 in the presence of His disciples, just before the prayers in Gethsemane.

James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4  

Romans 5:3-5

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5  
The word translated "character" in the verse from Romans is probably derived from the one translated "testing" in the verse from James. In James, the idea is that you are being tested to find out if you are trustworthy; in Romans, the idea is that you have already been tested and found trustworthy. When we are under pressure that puts our faith to the test, we must cheerfully persevere and continue to do what God has called us to, and only when we do so do we pass the test and receive the hope and maturity that are the reward for passing the test.
Comparing this to 
Romans 15:4 (the verse at the top of this page), we discover that we don't just "persevere" or "endure" by willpower, but we add to it the encouragement of the Scriptures, and that is how we are able to continue until we receive the hope we need.

Hebrews 10:35-36

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Hebrews 10:35-36  
Obviously there is an action required to persevere. What is the "will of God" we are supposed to be doing?

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9  
So our task, the will of God, is to "do good".
This "weary" basically means to "become worthless", not "tired" like the one in 
Hebrews 12:3 (above). Notice that we are not to become worthless to God when we are going through difficult times! Although we will from time to time become tired, we are to cheerfully persevere in chasing our calling, and so we don't become worthless to God and the ministry He has called us to.
To repeat what I said earlier... getting "weary" or tired is not the problem; the problem is after that, if we "lose heart" and "become worthless".

Psalm 84:5-7

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

Psalms 84:5-7  
"Baca" means "tears" when we pass through a place of tears, our job is to make it a place of springs. Water represents the Word of God, so we find that "doing good" (from Galatians) equates, when you come down to it, to sharing the Word of God.
Notice that the water is coming from two directions... the pilgrim is making the valley a "place of springs", and the rains (from Heaven) are "covering it with pools". As we do the work God has called us to, He also provides what we need to continue in it.

Luke 8:15

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Luke 8:15  
In the end, when we persevere in the Word, we produce a crop. The crop is the Word of God planted in the lives of others!

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23  
God won't let us down! Notice that this person has obtained the hope from persevering, but has not yet seen the answer to his problem!
Sometimes things may not happen when we think they should, but as we continue in what we are called to do, they will eventually happen!

Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6  
(also see the article titled "Leave and Forsake")

Our Response to Trouble

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Mark 4:35-41  
When Jesus says we're going to the other side, don't doubt for a second that you're going to make it! (It wouldn't be a bad idea to get some sleep in the stern of the boat...)

2 Timothy 1:7

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7  

Romans 8:6

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6  

Philippians 4:6-7

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7  

God's Guarantee

Psalm 37:3-7

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Psalm 37:18-31

The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.

But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.

I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.

Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.

Psalm 37:34

Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

Psalm 37:37

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.

Psalm 37:39-40

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 37:3-7, 11, 18-31, 34, 37, 39-40  

Benefits Gained From Hard Times