2 Chronicles 11:1-12:16; Romans 8:26-34; Psalms 18:46-50; Proverbs 9:7-8
NT: “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:26-31 CSB)
People love to quote Romans 8:28, but often times, they only quote the first part of the verse and don’t consider the context in which it was made. Because of that, many see Romans 8:28 as a general promise that all things are going to work out… that God will turn our bad circumstances into something good. That is not what Romans 8:28 says. Let’s take a deeper look.
Just a few verses before, Paul wrote about sufferings and groaning. In our present age, suffering is part of life… it is part of living in a fallen world. When God created the world, He said that it was good, but when man fell into sin, creation was subjected to futility and bound to decay. Ever since then, creation has been groaning and eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. We also, as redeemed believers living in corruptible bodies, groan as we await the end of this age when we can be freed from our mortal bodies to fully serve the Lord without hindrance. In the midst of the suffering and groaning, we do not lose hope because we know that the glory of the age to come will far exceed the sufferings of our day. Our hope helps us endure until the end.
In the same way our hope helps us endure, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. The word ‘helps’ means to co-labor, to lay hold of something together, to partner. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just pray for us. As we pray, the Holy Spirit comes along side us and joins us in our praying and fills in any gaps, so that our prayers combined with the Holy Spirit’s prayers become perfect prayers that are aligned with the word, will, and ways of God. Our groaning, joined with the Holy Spirit, become powerful intercession. It is in that context that Romans 8:28 has its full meaning. In the midst of our struggles… in the midst of all the wrong that goes on in the world, as the Holy Spirit comes along side us and supplements our groans and prayers, we can be confident that as we continue to love God and remain committed to His purposes, all of the struggles of this life are going to work good into us and cause good to come out of us. God has always remained faithful to those who remained faithful to Him… even through incredibly challenging times. The work that God has begun in us, He will be faithful to bring it all the way to completion as we remain faithful to His process by grace through faith. If we love God and are committed to His purposes, He is for us… and if God is for us, then no one and nothing can prevent His purposes for us from coming to pass.
Psalms: “The Lord lives — blessed be my rock! The God of my salvation is exalted. God — he grants me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; you rescue me from violent men. Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, Lord; I will sing praises about your name.” (Psalms 18:46-49 CSB)
God called King David from insignificant beginnings (a dirty and smelly boy who spent his days tending sheep) to become king over His chosen people. God began a work in David as David grew to know the Lord in those long and lonely days in the field. The journey from calling to completion was quite long with a lot of really tough (sometimes impossible) challenges. God called David to something that was way beyond David’s capacity to accomplish. The only way for God’s purposes for David to reach fulfillment was for David to remain faithful to God. As David remained faithful to God’s purposes, God was for David. All of the challenges that David endured through faith in God molded him and shaped him into the man who could lead a nation righteously. The Lord God was David’s Rock. As David humbled himself before the Lord, the Lord exalted David above his enemies. As God glorified David, God was glorified among the nations of the world. If God can do that through an unredeemed and flawed person like David, how much more can God do that through us who have placed our faith in Christ and have thus become redeemed and justified and filled with the Holy Spirit of God?