2 Corinthians 4

Today reading seems to be filled with “golden nuggets”. What does Paul have to share with us?
Paul seems to be responding to some claim that his message is veiled or obscure to some, to which he responds that it isn’t the message that is unclear, it is the listener or Satan who is making it hard to understand. “The god of this world has blinded their minds.”  Which means that Satan has taken advantage of those who are choosing to turn away or not believe.  You see the choice is ours to make. Satan will try his best to deceive you into believing what he wants you to believe and not what is the truth. And what is the truth? Look at verse 6, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” Paul is telling them that there are hardships that they are facing every day, and as overwhelming as they may be, God is always one step ahead. They may be surrounded by trouble and danger, but they are not crushed or defeated. They may have questions and wonder why these terrible things are happening (just like us) but they are not feeling hopeless. They may be persecuted but God is always with them never leaving them on their own. Isn’t it encouraging to know this? That no matter how bad it might get for us, how defeated or crushed we may feel in the middle of our trials, that God always brings hope to a situation. It may take many years to discover what it is, but we always have hope, when we believe in Christ Jesus our Savior. 
Paul talks also about a “treasure.” What is this treasure? It is the “light that shines in our hearts so we can know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” (4:6). But it is interesting to see that this “treasure” is contained in fragile, expendable jars of clay. In Paul’s time treasure was often buried in clay containers under the floor or in a wall of a house. You’ve heard of the Essene’s who gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls, they used clay jars for storing and hiding those valuable manuscripts that were discovered centuries later (in 1947).

Gold and silver were carried in earthen vessels in Roman victory processions. These plain, ordinary containers served to emphasize the glory of the treasure within. It is easy to see that Paul thought of himself as a weak and unattractive “jar of clay” but what a glorious treasure could be found on the inside. You remember that Paul witnessed the Glory of God in the face of Jesus on his way to Damascus? That inner glory he was able to share with many people, in many different places. It is why we should spend more time on our inner beauty that will continue to grow and blossom; than on the outside beauty, that withers and fades away.

I love that final verse in today’s reading – vs 18 “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  When our struggles seem to overwhelm us, when we can’t seem to get ahead or catch a break, we need to claim this verse and remind ourselves to fix our gaze – not on our troubles, that are really only temporary, but recognize that it is the eternal, what God has in store for us, – that is where we should focus.

Grace and Peace

Pastor Kathy 

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