Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Last time, we talked about how, out of context, a verse or a part of a verse could be used in a way that made it look like it says something totally different from the real intent. Very much like statistical evidence. If the person using them has a preconceived conclusion, then numbers, sampling techniques, etc. can be manipulated to support the desired conclusion. So, we want to get God’s full thought on every Biblical statement, not some slanted interpretation of it.
The very last part of this portion of Scripture talks about not fearing what man can do. That might seem very brave or very arrogant, taken by itself. But the two statements before it clearly give the context. Jesus promised to never leave or forsake us. That was aimed at the disciples of the time, but we know, from researching the Word, that God applies that kind of statement to all believers. That results in bold statements of faith that the Lord helps us. Only in that context can saying the final statement become a statement of faith rather than one that’s rash or arrogant.
The context shows a faith demonstrated by the believer, to the point of not fearing men. I’m not sure about others, but I know that I don’t always attain that level of spirituality. But the context is never how we think, what we do, how much faith we have. All of those things are good and important. But we can’t manufacture them and have them still retain value. It’s not our trust in God, but the fact that He is trustworthy.
The last part of 1 Corinthians 7:27 is often enough quoted out of context, “seek not a wife.” as suggesting marriage or hoping for marriage isn’t a good thing. But, if you go back four verses and ahead two, there’s an important context. Paul is saying it’s his thinking, not an edict from God. He suggests, obviously based on human nature, that there are going to be clashes in thinking that put the focus on resolving the issue and taking it away from God. But, it’s OK to marry. Indeed, there’s the wedding where Christ kept the celebration going by changing the water into wine. The key, here, is not marriage, but the seeking.
Matthew 6:33 says “seek first”. That seeking is for God’s kingdom and His righteousness. That’s the point. God knows we’re going to seek something “better” than our present circumstances. And much of it is good or better. But we often forget that little word “first”. The context is that we need to keep God first in our priorities. Everything else falls into place when we do. There’s power in resting in what a loving, trustworthy God has for us. That’s our ultimate context. No striving, just receiving grace and mercy for our daily lives.
How’s your supply of grace, today?