Esther Day 5 In The Details: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) Why is the comparison of clay jars to humanity significantly important to understand?

2) Where is the triumph in tribulation?

3) What is the secret of endurance?

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak. 14 For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you. 15 Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Original Intent

1) Why is the comparison of clay jars to humanity significantly important to understand?
Clay jars were a part of everyday life in Paul’s time. Clay pots contained everything from wealth to worthless things, and from food to liquid. Because these jars were inexpensively made of clay, they were subject to breakage and easily discarded. Though the vessels were far inferior containers, they often contained treasures of great value.
Paul uses the image of clay jars as an analogy to depict frail humanity. We are easily broken, but inside frail, breakable human vessels, we carry a priceless treasure. As a believer, that treasure was, and still is, the gospel of Christ. It is not the pot being emphasized here, but the treasure of Christ inside.
God’s power is revealed through human weakness like uneducated fishermen who became world-famous preachers (Acts 1:8), a no-account shepherd who led an entire nation on a 40-year trek through the desert (Exodus 3:1-8), or a man with zero stage-presence who became the boldest servant of the gospel (2 Corinthians 10:10).
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, “we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) The treasure is Christ Himself, His redemption, and His righteousness; the vessel is us in our weakness, utterly incapable of attaining righteousness on our own. The contrast between the two is tremendous! The redemption of Jesus unleashed in a life is like a precious diamond shining in every direction. To even imagine such a jewel to be entrusted to such weakness is beyond understanding. Yet, God has ordained the treasure of His redemption to all who put their trust in Him alone, not because they are beautiful pots of glory, but precisely because they are not. It is His glory and excellence on display in spite of our weakness.

2) Where is the triumph in tribulation?
Earthly life surrounds us with infirmity. Every day we find ourselves under pressure of some form.  In verses 8-10, Paul describes life as being pressed on every side, crushed, at wit’s end, persecuted by men, and knocked down, all while facing the reality of our physical bodies coming to an end. Not a pretty picture. Throughout all of Scripture there is death, even the death of Jesus Christ. So, one may ask, WHERE IS THE TRIUMPH? As followers of Christ, His children, the believers, we have been given triumph within us because of the victory Christ achieved by rising from the dead. (1 John 4:4, 1 John 5:4-5) His victory has given us the assurance that He is in control and Death holds no power over Him or the ones who believe in His Name. True, our bodies will die, just as the death of Jesus was a reality. Death operates in us in this life, but through Jesus we have eternal life. Even in those verses of affliction, triumph is the focal point. We are afflicted, BUT NOT crushed. We are perplexed, BUT NOT in despair. We are persecuted, BUT NOT abandoned. We are struck down, BUT NOT destroyed. We are to face everything in the power of God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We have the incorruptible assurance of Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-5)  Our ultimate triumph, which is our future possession that Christ has already taken hold of for us, is eternal life in the presence of our Most Holy God. (Philippians 3:12, Romans 6:23) No one can take away our inheritance! (John 10:28-30)

3) What is the secret of endurance?
Verse 16 boldly asserts, “Therefore, we do not give up…”. Where is the “therefore” anchored? Verse 14 holds the key, “For we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.” Because Christ’s resurrection is the preview of our own resurrection, therefore we do not give up. Because God proved He could raise Christ, the One who took the punishment for our sin, therefore we do not give up. Because He will present us, along with all other true believers, as blameless and righteous before the Holy God, therefore we do not give up. Because the glory waiting for us far outweighs the temporary struggles we encounter, therefore we do not give up. (verse 17) Our endurance in a life fraught with difficulty is found anchored in Christ, His atoning death for us, and His victorious conquering of death by His resurrection. Because death holds no power over Him, neither does it hold power over us. (Romans 6:9) We can stand firm in the finished work of Christ on our behalf, and not be shaken by the constant perils in this life, because He IS our endurance. But there is another motivation given for our endurance in this passage, “to increase the glory of God”.  (verse 15) There is no way we could “add to” God’s current glory, what is meant here isn’t a mathematical sum, but rather “increase” is understood better in the context of “fame”. When we walk through suffering, allowing Christ’s sufficiency to be our anchor and source of endurance, God receives the glory and others see Him more clearly. His glory is declared, or made known, as His fame increases among onlookers in our sphere of influence. As we suffer and Christ’s grace gives us endurance to persevere, the more He is made known, which results in more people encountering Him, which is cause for praise and thanksgiving as God is glorified! Now that is an AMEN!

Everyday Application

1) Why is the comparison of clay jars to humanity significantly important to understand?
As a labor and delivery nurse, there have been many moments where a laboring mom’s life and that of the unborn child, were in critical, life threatening condition. Interventions were quickly required to bring forth a healthy baby and mother. When those intense moments were resolved with a “victory” of healthy outcome, it was easy to walk away feeling pride and satisfaction. The medical team and patient all said, “Thank You! Job well done!“, to each other, as is proper and important. In reality, our broken human vessels are nothing without the Author of Life and the Giver of all Wisdom granting success and life. Without giving glory and credence to the Father, the Creator of life, the Master in control, we easily credit ourselves with much undeserved praise. For myself, there have been far too many times when my earthly vessel was sold on pride, instead of being broken to let His light shine forth.  Life’s circumstances are not about us, the clay pot, but about the glory within that comes only from Christ! ALL Praise and Glory belong to God! (Isaiah 42:8) We are frail human beings, weak and helpless. Yet, as believers, we are given the greatest treasure of all, Christ and His message of hope to carry to all people! (Matthew 28:19-20) God has ordained His gospel message, this treasure, be carried by weak earthly vessels so the excellence of God is put on display, not ourselves. All praise and glory MUST go to the CREATOR, not the creature. Only when human vessels are broken and yielded to the Lord, can the gospel shine forth through us in all magnificence.

2) Where is the triumph in tribulation?
We are persecuted by men, but never abandoned by God. One thing often repeated in the lives of martyrs for Christ, is their constant testimony that when they were at their weakest moments, they had their sweetest time with Christ. Joan of Arc was totally abandoned by those who stood by her she remarked, “It is better to be alone with God, His friendship will not fail me.” Nothing can alter the faithful loyalty of God; it is woven into the DNA of His character. (2 Timothy 2:13) We can be at our wit’s end in our daily walk, raising children, working with spouses, juggling careers, and on and on, BUT we are never without Hope. The lyrics by Stuart Townend hit home this unchanging truth, “In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song this Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.”

3) What is the secret of endurance?
With a sure and certain hope of resurrection we can persevere under terrible hardship and suffering. Because of the certainty of eternal life with the Father, we will NEVER lose heart. Even though our bodies are decaying, there is always spiritual renewal by His Spirit, which enables us to go on, even to our last breath. Our outward man is perishing, but God sends constant supply of divine power for following Him through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who indwells every true believer.  Our material bodies completely change approximately every seven years, yet inwardly we are renewed “day by day”. Death holds NO grip on us! Refuse to embrace a lie that we are incapable of persevering and have no reason to endure. Fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, be brave, be bold for the cause of Christ. There is NOTHING that can stop you or snatch you from the love of Christ or steal away the unshakeable anchor of Christ’s power working in and through you to bring about His glory for the world to see and know Him! “For I am persuaded that neither death nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39)

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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