Joshua and Judges: Handling unexpected affliction, part 3. Jos 7:7-9; 2Co 4:7-18.

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Title: Joshua and Judges: Handling unexpected affliction, part 3. JOS 7:7-9; 2CO 4:7-18.


2CO 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.


Everything God has done is for your sake, which may seem like a paradox because it is ultimately for His sake. Since He is love, what is for His sake is for your sake.


This truth should illicit great thanksgiving from the heart of the believer.


2CO 4:16 Therefore [because of what was just stated] we do not lose heart [lack courage], but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.


The outer man is a reference to the physical body in contrast to the inner man, the soul, heart, and spirit, which on the contrary to decaying is actually becoming stronger, more youthful, and enlarged.


The word for “decaying,” diaphtheiro is an intense form of phtheiro which means to destroy through corruption. The present tense is used because it is a process continuing throughout time and the passive voice reveals that there is no way to stop it.


It happens to you no matter what. Although behaviors and lifestyles can hasten its corruption there is nothing that will reverse this process. No matter how rich and powerful a person may get in this world and no matter how much time is spent in the laboratory in the hope of finding a method of reversing aging, nothing can be done to stop it.


The body grows old; becomes weak and feeble; loses its vigor and elasticity under the many trials which we endure, and under the infirmities of advancing years. It is a characteristic of the "outer man," that it thus perishes. Great as may be its vigor at certain times, yet it must decay and die. It cannot long bear up under the trials of life, and the wear and tear of constant action, but must soon sink to the grave. That would make a good birthday card.


However, the soul is eternal, and in time, through the word of God and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit the opposite trend can happen in our souls.


While the one perishes, the other is renewed; while the one is enfeebled, the other is strengthened; while the one grows old and decays, the other renews its youth and is invigorated.


We may allow the condition of the body to affect the soul, but that is a failure on our part to handle the pressure. If the body is decaying but the soul can easily continue in increasing strength then it is obvious that the body does not have to affect the soul. Also, since the soul will live on in eternity, independent of our current bodies, then it must be true that the prosperity of the soul does not depend upon this body.


It is also true that the condition of the soul may affect the body psychosomatically, but that doesn’t open the door for a person to judge another.


“Renewed” - literally, to make new again.


COL 3:9-10

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him


COL 3:10 gives us insight as to what this renewal is. It is unto the full or true knowledge [epignosis]. This full knowledge is after or according to the image of Christ, which refers to all the truth that is in Him as opposed to all other so-called truth. This new man, that every believer is, is beyond the image of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Adam was created in the image of God as soul and spirit but with a body. At the fall, the soul, spirit, and body became corrupted and the body does die due to its corruption. However, the new creature in Christ is created brand new in the image of Christ. This is beyond the measure with which Adam enjoyed his own image. We are not restored to the image of Adam but made brand new in the image of Christ. However, it is very apparent that being a new creature does not mean being a mature new creature. God does not overhaul our minds. As we see in COL 3:9, many of the Colossians had brought their old habits of lying, a function of the old self. The command to stop lying is an imperative of prohibition, meaning it is a command to stop something that has been going on. They carried over into their new life a sin from the old life, so then the new creature created in the image of Christ demands renewing in the true knowledge that belongs to Christ.


ROM 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


Since we all carry over with us the habits of the flesh and the world from the old self into the new life of the new self, what we think, believe, treasure, honor, prioritize, etc. must come into harmony with that new creature through in constant diet of the word of God under the filling of the Holy Spirit. A constant diet is the key. A sparse diet will not give the true knowledge or full knowledge, but only a superficial one; hence the phrase, day by day.


2CO 4:16 Therefore [because of what was just stated] we do not lose heart [lack courage], but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.


Paul is emphatic in the next verse in comparing affliction and glory. If someone were to ask you to describe the afflictions experienced by the apostle Paul in his ministry I don’t think the first word that would come to your mind would be “light.”


2CO 4:17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,


The only reason that Paul can use the adjective “light” is when the affliction is actually compared to the eternal glory that the affliction produces.


Paul’s affliction consisted of want, and danger, and contempt, and stoning, and toil, and weariness, and the scorn of the world, and constant exposure to death by land or by sea [2CO 11:23-27]. We all experience the first parts of the couplets in vv. 7-10. They don’t always seem to be light but we have to compare them with eternal glory.


The glory always goes to God. If we fail in our afflictions, God is still glorified because He did every time provide the solution. When we actually use His solutions we share in that glory. This is further emphasized by the used of the middle voice for the verb “producing.” The middle voice is used when the subject’s personal involvement in stressed and the action is in his own interest. The glory is eternal and so, what we share in when we apply faith and truth to our afflictions goes on into eternity and exists for all eternity. Affliction occurs because of all the opposition against God and His truth, yet He defeats it every time and when we can share in that defeat we share in such a glory that cannot be compared to the affliction itself.


Paul, by means of God the Holy Spirit, attempts an expression that is as emphatic as possible, which is translated “far beyond all comparison.”


kata huperbole eis huperbole = according to a surpassing unto surpassing, referring to the production of eternal glory.


One huperbole [throw beyond] wasn’t enough for Paul to feel as if he expressed this properly.


God’s eternal glory must always shine on our afflictions. If it doesn’t then they will look too large.


“light” - evlafro,j[elaphros] = light in weight, easy to bear.


The same word is used by Christ to describe His yoke that we are to take upon us. The yoke implies servitude and obedience, and when Christ is your Master and your yoke partner, such servitude is described as light.


MAT 11:30

"For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."


Now if light can only be used as the affliction is compared to God’s eternal glory then we must approach the word momentary in the same way. This Greek word is only used here in the NT and it does not refer to a shortness of time, and properly so, since one person’s definition of momentary would not necessarily be that of another’s.


“momentary” - parauti,ka[parautika] = that which present with us now or immediate (para = beside), that which is present. Therefore, momentary is applied when it is compared to eternity.


So we could say that it is a present, light affliction. Even if the affliction lasted a lifetime, compared to eternity, it is momentary.


Christ’s telling of the rich man and Lazarus had Lazarus as being very poor and covered with sores, and this condition went on until his death. The rich man was rich until he died, but Lazarus was found in Paradise after his death and the unbelieving rich man in torments. Lazarus glorified God and is enjoying sharing in that glory to this day and will for all eternity. I’m sure he doesn’t look back on the suffering in his life as being very long from the perspective he now has.


Nero’s persecutions lasted for years. Other persecutions in the Roman Empire went on for long periods. Christianity was illegal in the Empire for three hundred years. Various persecutions of Christians have occurred since then through the entire history of the church as well as the millions of afflicted Christians who are not recorded in history books.


2CO 1:8-10

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,


Joshua is only looking at a minor setback. It is something that has to be dealt with but it is not the end of the plan of God for his life or for his nation.


We must not focus on things only as they are seen to our physical eye, for all we will see is the affliction.


2CO 4:18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Paul here has stated the true secret of bearing trials with patience. It is to look at the things which are unseen, which are the solutions that exist in the heart. The eyes of the heart view the eternal inheritance, some of which is thoroughly enjoyed now. It is to anticipate the glories of the heavenly world and that we will share in God’s glory as we have allowed Him, in time, to have victory over His adversaries through us. To fix the eye on the eternal happiness which is beyond the grave; and to reflect how short these trials are, compared with the eternal glories of heaven; and how short they will seem to be when we are there.


This doesn’t mean that we ignore the problems or pretend as if they don’t exist. There is often work to be done on the problem. But we are to see the problem or affliction from the viewpoint of eternal glory. When we do, we still see the problem, but the problem seems momentary and light.


Perspective is involved in a great deal of problem solving.


HEB 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.


The things which the people of this world adore, their idols; wealth, power, pleasure, and fame are all of the earth and they will all pass away, and therefore, they are temporal. Man is allowed to worship what he chooses for a time, but in the end, when the kingdoms are moved on into eternity, this choice will no longer exist. Knowing this, how ought we to conduct ourselves.


2PE 3:11-12

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!


So it is with pain, sorrow, and tears - they must soon all pass away.


Albert Barnes says it beautifully:

“The most splendid palace will decay; the most costly pile will moulder to dust; the most magnificent city will fall to ruins; the most exquisite earthly pleasures will soon come to an end; and the most extended possessions can be enjoyed but a little time. So the acutest pain will soon be over; the most lingering disease will soon cease; the evils of the deepest poverty, want, and suffering will soon be passed. There is nothing on which the eye can fix, nothing that the heart can desire here, which will not soon fade away; or, if it survives, it is temporary in regard to us. We must soon leave it to others; and if enjoyed, it will be enjoyed while our bodies are slumbering in the grave, and our souls engaged in the deep solemnities of eternity. How foolish then to make these our portion, and to fix our affections supremely on the things of this life? How foolish also to be very deeply affected by the trials of this life, which at the furthest CAN be endured but a little longer before we shall be forever beyond their reach!”