“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4)
If you were going through tough times, what would you expect from your best friends? Wouldn’t you want them to encourage you? However, with what can they tangibly help? Paul told members of the church at Thessalonica, who were in doubt about the destiny of their loved ones who had died, “Therefore encourage each other with these words.” He had just explained that those who died in the Lord would be in His presence as well. We have more than a hug (as comforting as that may be) to offer our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have the sure words of God who cannot lie.
Abraham and his lot were an extraordinary group. They were given promises from God that were not fulfilled during their lifetimes, but through the encouragement they received from them, they carried them beyond the grave.
Their attitude concerning God’s word was a key to the encouragement they received from it. Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” From this passage, we learn that they were persuaded of God’s promise. Although doubt, brought on by circumstances, assailed them constantly, they quenched the fiery darts every time. We also see that they embraced God’s word; they received it not as some general revelation, but as a personal word to them. The word only becomes effective when it is personal. Finally, they confessed the word of promise. Jesus taught that our words flow out of the abundance of our hearts. They treasured these promises in their hearts; they were their spiritual bread and butter.
Be encouraged by the scriptures; encourage one another!
Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Is the fear of the Lord, expressed by reverence, obedience, trust, and worship evident in your life? (Deut. 10:12; Josh. 24:14; Psm. 33:8; 103:7; Pro. 14:27; Acts 9:31)
73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.
79 May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.