December 18, 2017

There Are No Unique or Hopeless Problems

John Vaughn

Greatly discouraged believers are usually those facing problems that have them bewildered. The attitude that says, “No one has ever been through anything like this,” or “It’s hopeless; there is absolutely nothing I can do!” compounds the pain of overwhelming circumstances. The value of the Old Testament to the Christian is not only in the marvelous way it prepares us to know and love Christ, but in its provision of examples for our encouragement. The major divisions of the Old Testament include the Law, the History, and the Prophets. There is, of course, a large section of Poetry, but this too is part of the history of the Hebrews.

The Law leaves us hungry for a Perfect Priest—One who can offer a truly acceptable sacrifice for our sins. The History leaves us thirsty for a Perfect King—One who can lead us and love us into loyalty that never diminishes. The Prophets leave us longing for a Perfect Prophet—One who not only tells us how to live and what is ahead, but actually empowers us to live in the confident expectation of what is ahead. The last words of the last verse, of the last chapter, of the last book of the Old Testament are “a curse.” The Old Testament is the “bad news.”

Then there is a blank page that represents 400 years of somber silence. But on the very next page we meet that Perfect Prophet, Priest, and King—the God of heaven in human flesh. Thus the hearts of men are prepared to recognize Him and receive Him as their Savior. This is the “good news”—the “gospel” of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the details of these great Old Testament books are the stories of a multitude of characters, old and young, wise and foolish, good examples and bad. Their choices and the consequences of them are laid out for all to read. The unvarnished truth of human strength and weakness is revealed, and the lessons are timeless. We read in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The invitation is obvious: “Read—heed!”

The benefits of these lessons are both priceless and obvious when taken as the infallible revelation of God, and their practical benefit is not left unidentified. The next verse says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Read the story of the wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) and be humbled by his folly, or the story of the strongest man who ever lived (Samson) and understand his weakness. The meekest man (Moses) dishonored God in his anger. King David, the man after God’s own heart, was conquered by the lusts of his own flesh. Abraham, another fallen man, “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

The roll call of human humility in Hebrews 11 reveals the faith of our fathers. They were not perfect, but they had faith in the perfect plan of salvation. Studying these characters will build your own character and prepare you for the truth of the next verse: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” There are no unique problems. There are no hopeless problems.

It may not feel like that is true, but God says it is. No problem you will ever face is unique; any test you must endure is “common to man.” There are nearly seven billion people alive today, and probably billions who have lived before. A billion is 1000 million. It is not even logical that your problem is unique. It is certainly not Scriptural. It is not possible for you to have a problem that God has not given you the answer to in His Word.

Nor is it possible for you to have a hopeless problem. Why? Because “God is faithful” not to allow it. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability to do right. You have the promise of Scripture that you will never, ever, be placed in a circumstance where the only alternative you have is to sin. You may be without hope for a time, but your problem is not hopeless. Romans 15:4 makes it clear, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

John Vaughn is the President of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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