Spiritual well-being

 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Aram (Syria) and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram (Syria) has escaped out of your hand.  Were not the Ethiopians and Lubim a huge army with a great number of chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He placed them in your hand.  For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this; therefore, from now on you will have wars.”  Then Asa was    angry with the seer and put him in prison [in the stocks], for he was enraged with him                 because of this. And at the same time Asa oppressed some of the people.                     2 Chronicles 16:7-10

You may examine this doctrine under two points of view–as referring either to the Church at large, or separately to the individuals of whom that Church is composed. With Scripture for our guide, we must see that God’s design, in all His dealings with this earth, has been the glorifying Himself in the redemption and final exaltation of a vast number of our apostate race. Before Christ appeared amongst men, the whole course of human events was so ordered as to prepare the way for the promised Deliverer. If God sent His own Son to deliver man from the consequences of transgression, and to extirpate evil from the universe, we cannot doubt the objects which engaged so stupendous an interposition must still be those to whose furtherance the Divine dealings tend. There can be no other objects commensurate in importance with those, for no others have required so costly a process; and since these as yet have been only partially attained, we must justly conclude that their thorough accomplishment is the proposed end of all the dealings of providence. The globe was partitioned out with a view to the Church, this land assigned to one nation and that to another, with the set purpose of consulting by the distribution the well-being of Israel. It is as though the Psalmist had said that God directs all the tumults and confusions of the world, guiding the flood with holy and merciful intentions towards His people, that the turbid waters may bring them strength and peace. Why is it that the Church has outlived so many a fierce persecution–that in the place of being vanquished she is only to be invigorated by assault? We ascribe nothing to the native energies of the preachers or professors of Christianity: we ascribe everything to the protecting and fostering care of Him who so loved the world as to give His Son. And it is not only in reference to the Church at large that we are warranted in thus speaking of God’s providence. Of each member in this Church we may declare that God watches sedulously over him with the express design of succouring him with all needful assistance. You learn from various portions of Holy Writ that God has a great interest in the righteous, so that the Lord’s portion is said to be His people, and Jacob the lot of His inheritance. He now calls His people His jewels, and declares that whosoever toucheth them toucheth the apple of His eye. We know that many things may happen to the righteous which seem against them, and that it is easy to find in their disasters apparent exceptions to the truth affirmed by the text; yet who that knows anything of Christian experience would deny that the trials which are permitted to overtake the godly serve as means through which their spiritual well-being is advanced, and afford occasions for such communications of grace as prove that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness? It is no proof that the eye of the Lord is not on the righteous that troubles may be found in their portion. When again this man is visited with calamity, death may make inroads in his household, and disorder may pervade his affairs; but the eyes of the Lord are incessantly on him, and if he will but seek his comfort in God, God will show Himself strong by giving him a peace which passeth all understanding. And if anything can encourage the righteous man, and give him confidence amid the onsets of trial, it must be the consideration that the providence of the Almighty is thus perpetually vigilant in his behalf. (H. MeLvill, B.D.)

spiritual wellbeing

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