2 Thessalonians 3

Author

Bill Huffman

Scripture:

2 Thessalonians 3

Observations:

* Paul desires that ordinary people pray for him and for Silvanus and Timothy.
* Paul's requested areas for prayer are that the word of the Lord go out effectively and be honored and that he, Silvanus and Timothy be delivered from evil men. These are two of the areas Jesus taught His disciples - "Thy kingdom come" and "deliver us from evil."
* Paul says God will "establish" the Thessalonians and protect them from the evil one.
* Rather than urge the Thessalonians to do the things he commands, or even expressing confidence in them that they will do them, he expresses confidence in the Lord that they will do them.
* Paul expresses hope not in men, but in God for these requested prayers, for good for the Thessalonians, and even for what the Thessalonians will actually do.
* Paul asks God to direct the Thessalonians hearts.

* Paul commands. In our society, we struggle to imagine that, but I think that says more about our society than about Paul. I need to learn here as well.
* We are to keep away from brothers for at least some reasons. That's hard for me to wrap my mind around.
* Paul assumes a similarity between "idleness" and "not in accord with the tradition that you received from us."
* Paul's reason for why they should know is not that he told them when he was with them but that he, Silvanus and Timothy modeled it when they were there.
* Paul gave up much that would have been within his rights in order to teach by modelling.
* Paul gave commands about willingness to work and eating. I think they indicate that love is a thing far removed from license.
* Work is good for us. One good is we avoid being busybodies. I think the value of work is very high and that God gave it to us in Eden as a blessing and a protection.
* Doing good is a long term thing. That's one more reason we need to be changed from the inside rather than "white-knuckling" it on the outside.
* The point of having nothing to do with someone is that he be ashamed, not that he have no friendship or love. It's easy for us to take this much farther than Paul intends. While "having nothing to do with"
someone, it seems we should be longing for that moment when we can be back in fellowship. (This helps me with the struggle in the earlier
observation.)

* Peace comes from the Lord. And we may ask Him for it.
* It is important that the Lord is with us. And we may ask for that.
* Paul cares that the Thessalonians know that the letter is from him.

An observation particularly valuable to me:
* I didn't see this when I read the passage, but only when I wrote my observations... Paul expresses hope not in men, but in God not only for his own future and for the establishment and protection of those for whom he cares, but even for the direction of their hearts and the good actions they will accomplish.

Application:

From my youth I've been taught by the world to depend on myself for the direction of my own heart and for the good things I will do. God has been graciously reworking that dependence in recent years and I more often depend on Him for these. God is beginning to work in me to make that same change in what I assume in others. Verse 4 made me consider that difference again and increased the size of the space in my internals where He can bring me to depend on Himself.

Prayer:

Lord, I've learned in so many places that everything depends on the natural world and on my natural behavior. There's no hope in that belief. You have been continually giving me more hope by teaching me that you are Master of the natural. Please continue to broaden the scope of where Your teaching takes hold. Particularly, please broaden it to cover how I look at the development of the hearts and actions of those I love, those I depend on, and those I'm caring for, so that when something is wrong, my heart turns immediately to You instead of to panic or to working out how to change that person or situation. Amen.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Karen Miller wrote:
Amen Bill. May He give us all an awareness and a desire to depend on Him and not try to fix things ourselves. I love that the Lord can direct our hearts, specifically to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ. Too often my heart desires worldly things... my comfort, my pleasure. Lord, direct our hearts to the love of God and steadfastness of Christ.

Wed, March 25, 2015 @ 6:35 AM

2. Jim Asselin wrote:
Thank you Bill. Your time with God really spoke to me. Karen, I echo your echo.....
idleness takes many forms, I am thinking about entertainment particularly when it is used to check out of the present situation. I like to take vacations mentally, physically, and emotionally from the things that have to be addressed, and I don't have to deal with them while my mind is occupied - or unoccupied perhaps. I like the term idleness, it makes me think of putting a car in neutral and letting it idle - just sort of wasting gas. Paul says in PHIL. 4.8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whether Facebook, or magazines, or the internet, or tv, etc - I need to guard against others planting ideas in my mind, and to keep my hands, thinking, and spirit under control.

Wed, March 25, 2015 @ 8:01 AM

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