Our text is: II Thessalonians 1:3-12
2 Thess. 1:3 We are bound to thank YHVH Elohim always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith growth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the ASSEMBLIES of YHVH for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of YHVH Elohim, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of YHVH, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with YHVH to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when Adonai Yahshua shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not YHVH, and that obey not the gospel of our Adonai Yahshua haMashiach:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of YHVH, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our Elohim would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Adonai Yahshua haMashiach may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our Elohim and the Adonai Yahshua haMashiach.
Our Lesson then is, “Does YHVH Elohim Really Care?”
How many times have we, when faced by adversity question YHVH Elohim’s benevolence? Unfortunately, it appears that we have to experience adversity to grow in faith, steadfastness, and spiritual maturity. The Bible speaks of the believer being refined like gold in the furnace of fire. So, truthfully we shouldn’t be surprised when tribulations come.
However, the Thessalonians did not have the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) and Sha’ul (Paul) is writing to encourage them. As a result, this letter and the Thessalonians assembly stands as an example for all other assemblies today.
You know we are pre-conditioned. Think about it. As a child, we had trust in those around us! However, as we matured we began losing that sense of trust because of our experiences. We experienced people letting us down. Our parents, our brothers and sisters, fellow believers, our own children, our neighbors, fellow employees, employers, and the list could go on and on. As a result we become skeptical. How many times have you heard or said it yourself, “I’ll believe it when I see it?”
Promises are broken as soon as they are given. Politicians make promises knowing they want honor them and without a tinge of consciousness. We have read all too frequently how leaders of charitable organizations skim money off donations to establish mistresses, buy personal property, and live lavish life styles, etc. etc. while their constituents go hungry.
Even religious leaders betray their followers through spiritual or monetary theft.
With all of this going on around and to us, How can we trust in others? Trust is a risky business, isn’t it?
Formerly, as an investigator, I have often said to business clients, if you do not like “them”, they cannot con you, but when you “like them,” and trust them that is when they can “flimflam” or steal from you. Moreover, many times when I went to investigate and discover a perpetrator in an internal theft at some business, the perpetrator turns out to be the one most liked and trusted by the client. That is reality! That is why this lesson is so important!
We as believers need to be reminded that YHVH Elohim will not fail us. He is completely trustworthy and even when it seems circumstances are against us and our faith is faltering, we must be firm in the conviction that YHVH will prevail and we will persevere and mature spiritually, if we stand steadfast.
Scripture testifies to YHVH’s faithfulness and we read in:
Deu 7:9 Know therefore that the YHVH thy G-d, he is G-d, the faithful G-d, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
Ps. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of YHVH: He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And YHVH shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
There are multitudes of passages that attest to YHVH’s faithfulness. Boiled down, they all say, “YHVH Elohim will have the last word.”
That invites another question. Individual believers know or should know that persecution is a result of their saving faith, but how do we know an assembly or synagogue is maturing spiritually? Sha’ul (Paul) addressed that is the passages we read! What was his criterion for arriving at this evaluation? He placed it on their love for one another. Today, too many people think of an assembly, synagogue or church as a building, an institution, or an organization. It could just as well be a bar or social club. We need to remember that the ekkelsia (called out ones) are the people. No building, institution or organization is called out.
Growth in YHVH Elohim is measured differently today than by Sha’ul’s (Paul’s) model. We seldom have as our main criteria of measurement the love among the people. The truth is there does not seem too be too much love in congregations, so we have resorted to the number of members to measure faithfulness.
One thing we can be sure of is that persecution and common trails bring people together, and that is a lesson we should learn from this scripture. We are not informed what kind of trail the Thessalonians were enduring, but we do know they were under duress because of their faith. Sha’ul (Paul) said that the persecution they were experiencing was evidence of their witnessing for the Kingdom Of YHVH, which infers that if we do not experience any trails or adversity it should be a cause of worry, not gladness, and as a result we should examine our relationship to our Master.
Suffering is an inevitable part of following the Messiah Yahshua, and Sha’ul (Paul) understood this. He counted it as an honor. Suffering stands as evidence of Kingdom citizenship.
When we suffer and stand firm in faith we participate with Yahshua in the victory He won over evil by His death and resurrection on the execution stake.
Rom 6: 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua haMashiach were baptized into his death?
Rev 20: 4-: 6 I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yahshua, and for the word of YHVH, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of YHVH and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
We validate YHVH Elohim’s judgment as right in our steadfastness and trust no matter what the circumstances. We know YHVH’s timing is perfect and we should not struggle against the pricks, but put our complete trust in Him who knows all and in whose love we can trust.
We also know YHVH Elohim’s judgment purifies:
1 Cor 3:13-15 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Judgment as you can see is a “neutral term, ” which can have positive or negative effects. We have the ability to influence which. Knowing that YHVH’s justice will come in His own time should influence us to stand firm. We may experience that justice now or in the Kingdom, but be assured it will come and we will all stand on that promise. Therefore, we can rejoice as Sha’ul did in:
Phil 1: 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Messiah, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Does YHVH Really Care?
Knowing that our suffering is part of YHVH’s purpose for our lives should assure us.