Proverbs 12:2 ESV
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
Good things for good people seems like an over-simplified, Sunday school moral, and when we put it that way, it is. The righteous, those who hold faith in God and seek to follow his commandments, can experience truly torturous lives, filled with misery, torment, and the loss of everything and everyone they hold dear. Christians in Communist Chinese prison camps, Roman amphitheaters, and the proverbial shallow grave all seem to have gotten the (very) short end of the stick. What ‘favor from the Lord’ can be found in working yourself to death in the cold or getting your brains splattered across the desert for praying? In these times, we must remember the tale of Stephen, the first martyr.
Stephen died a painful death. A crowd of people, against whom his only crime was speaking the truth, beat him to death with stones. Yet Stephen had a glorious reward, both, in some sense, in this life and in the life to come. Even before his stoning, he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). His reward on this earth might have been a bloody death, but his reward in the place eternal was life and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord (Acts 7:59-60).
Another tale from the book of Acts, however, demonstrates in part the dire fate which awaits a man of evil devices: the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). These two conspired to lie to God; they offered up a gift of charity, claiming it was the entirety of what they had gained for a property, when in truth it was but a portion thereof. The sin here lay not in the withholding of that money; charity such as that is not compulsory. The sin lay in their deception, in the evil device of lying about what that money represented to them for the sake of their pride and their reputation. Their sin lay in lying to God, and for this, both died (Acts 5:5,10).
Then let us remember the word of an old hymn, in which the final verse says:
A noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid, / Around the Savior’s throne rejoice, in robes of light arrayed. / They climbed steep ascent of heaven, through peril, toil, and pain. / Oh God, to us may grace be given to follow in their train. (The Son of God Goes Forth to War, Reginald Heber, 1872 Anno Domini)
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.