Paul was thankful and praising God for all the comfort he gives. God is the God of all comfort.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus…the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort…ourselves are comforted of God.
Have we received God’s comfort so we can comfort others? Fear, agitation, anxiety, doubts, and turmoil are from the devil. God has power over all the power of the enemy. The psalmist said let the Lord be magnified but he was poor and needy. We have to recognize we’re poor and in need of God’s comfort for troubles in the world, so we can then comfort others.
Psalm 40:16-17 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer…
Jesus said let not your heart be troubled. People are troubled by what they fill their minds with, like watching news all day.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
It’s vitally important what we put in our minds so our heart isn’t troubled. We have to keep the peace of God in our heart. The devil wants us to meditate on what’s going on in the world. Jesus said to set our focus on things above, not on the things in the world. We will be troubled, anxious, doubtful and fearful if we meditate on things of the world.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you…not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither…be afraid.
God wants us to meditate on things that are pleasing to him. Paul says, “Do not fret” or don’t worry. We have to cast all our cares on the Lord to keep the peace of God. It may be an hourly battle. The enemy wants to disturb or trouble us. If our heart is troubled, we’ll never be an encouragement or help to others in that state. We need to Comforter to help us. We first need to control our mind and do what pleases God. He wants us to guard our minds and to think the right things during the turmoil of the world. We can’t change what’s going on but God is still in control. The test is, how are we going to handle it? Will we handle it so we can comfort others, or where we’re upset – filled with fear and anxiety?
Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified, Classic) Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving…make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation…fearing nothing from God…content with its earthly lot…that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds…
Paul said to do what the people saw and heard of him. He said to keep our mind and think on things of good report – not dwell on bad reports. He said to think on what’s pure, holy, just, and lovely. We have peace if we keep our minds on and commit things to God – cast all our cares on him. We won’t be agitated, fearful, or anxious. We fight the devil, not people.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely…are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things…learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
James said to count it all joy in temptations. We’re all in trials that aren’t easy but God is digging in our earth to see what’s in us when we have trials. He wants our faith to be pure, with no rocks to hinder. As one testified, the military are trained to have skill and teamwork so they’re prepared for the battle. If you face trials with God’s help, you will have skill and confidence for harder trials later. It’s easy to get short tempered or irritable in hard trials. But trials help us have patience that produces maturity, strength, confidence, flexibility, responsibility, resilience, calm demeanor, etc. Job said he was going to come out of his trial as pure gold. We need God’s help to come out of trials like gold so we can comfort others.
James 1:2-3…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing…the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Many of us have thought the fiery trials are strange, but Peter said we’ll be glad when we see Christ’s glory revealed. God wants our attitude in fiery trials to be so we can rejoice and help others – not have fear, anxiety, turmoil, and trouble.
I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial…as though some strange thing happened…But rejoice…ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings…when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
God wants to lead us by still (calm) waters as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. If we let our heart be troubled by cares and troubles, we’ll be walking by troubled waters. David said he would fear no evil because God was with him. God is with us to help, comfort, protect, and give exactly what we need during times of trouble.
Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
The rod and staff (word and Spirit) comfort us. We won’t find comfort or help if we’re looking to the world and news. We have to get into the word of God and ask for his help so we have the peace of God – not the turmoil of the world. God doesn’t want the world to dictate to us and follow their way but we need to do what God says instead. If we don’t get into the word, we won’t be eating what God has for us. We have to give our cares and troubles to God to have peace.
Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
God comforts us through others. Paul was exceeding joyful in all his tribulations and comforted when Titus came. God wants us to comfort anyone that is cast down, not fight or condemn them.
II Corinthians 7:4-7 Great is my boldness of speech…great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
King Ahab and Jezebel built temples to worship Baal, so God sent Elijah to say there would be no rain until he said so. God told Elijah where to go so he would be fed and have water. If he didn’t go where God said, he wouldn’t have had the food or water supplied by God. The brook Cherith was 25 miles away (a day’s journey) at the foot of Mt. Carmel. We have to get to the place where God says so he can supply our needs. If we don’t keep our minds set above things of the earth, we won’t be in the place where God promised to give us peace. We have to be obedient to what God says to do. If Elijah had gone any other place, he would not have been fed. He stayed at Cherith until the water dried up.
I Kings 17:1-6 And Elijah…said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence…and hide thyself by the brook Cherith…that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So…the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
God sent Elijah to a woman at Zaraphath. He knew she was the woman because she wanted to share the little she had. Elijah said to not fear and God would make the meal and oil last. It may seem like little, but God has done much for us that we can share. God loves a cheerful giver. He blessed the woman for sharing with Elijah so she and her son were saved. We don’t know how God will bless until we share what he gives us. Are you a comforter or always wanting to be comforted.
I Kings 17:8-16 And the word of the Lord came…saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath…I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee…And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he…said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going…said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal…and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said…Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first… and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord…The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she…did according to the saying of Elijah… And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord…by Elijah.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)