My devotional reading today brought me to Romans 15. And even though I’m sure this is not an original observation, there was something that stood out to me that I want to share with you.
Occasionally in the New Testament, we will find what could be called “benedictions,” or words of blessing, that are shared with the readers and hearers of the text of Scripture. Paul gives three of those benedictions here in Romans 15.
Verses 5-6 – “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Verse 13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Verse 33 – “May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
Each of these begins with an expressed wish (“may” God do something for you).
Each of these has a particular description of God unique to the wish or request.
Each of these are specific in what is desired for the people being blessed.
Two of them have a purpose attached to the request (“that” or “so that”).
In short, then, what are the lessons we can learn from these?
1) We need the God of ENDURANCE (patience) and COMFORT for our personal relationships. Paul uses this blessing at the end of an extended discussion about the eating of foods sacrificed to idols (begun in chapter 14). Basically, he says, it’s ok to do so…as long as the exercise of your freedom to do so doesn’t cause some other (weaker) brother or sister in Christ to stumble. That’s where we need the patience and comfort of the Lord to help each other bear with one another.
2) We need the God of HOPE for promised fulfillment. In verses 7-12, Paul speaks of how the Old Testament Scriptures foretold the ministry of Christ and how that ministry would reach both Jew and Gentile for the glory of God (the ultimate goal for everything!). The point? We can also have assurance and hope that just as the purpose of God was (and is being) accomplished in and through Christ, it will likewise be fulfilled in us! That is the basis of our hope and the foundation of our faith.
3) We need the God of PEACE for our potential difficulties. Paul had just asked the Romans to pray for success in the delivery of a free-will offering that had been collected among the Gentile churches for the poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem. The only problem was, Paul didn’t know how the offering might be received… or how HE would be received, for that matter! Paul is showing us that even when there is the potential for things not to go as planned, we can have the peace of God present in the situation, because the God of peace will be with us.
All of this shows us that our God is all we need for all we are going through. He is all-sufficient. May the God of patience, comfort, hope and peace be with you today, and may the abundance of his blessings go with you throughout the day!