What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Four words in this verse—"cover," "prosper," "confesses," and "forsakes"—highlight some valuable instruction for us. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, these Hebrew words mean:
» Cover (kacah, #3680): "to cover, to conceal, to hide."
» Prosper (tsalach, #6743): "to advance, to prosper, to make progress, to succeed, to be profitable."
» Confesses (yadah, #3034): "to throw, to shoot, to cast" and by extension, "to confess" or even "to praise."
» Forsakes ('azab, #5800): "to leave, to loose, to forsake, to let go."
In other words, if we try to hide or ignore our faults, our chances for success in life are dim, but if we admit them and put them behind us, we will have favor. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck remarks that "it is easier for us to try and forget a problem that we know exists than to deal with it." He states a fundamental truth about our problems. If we do not deal with a problem—in our case, sin—it will never go away. It will fester, and it will always come up later or manifest itself in a different form.
Spiritually, then, if we are not honest with ourselves about our sins and shortcomings, we will not reach our full, God-given potential. God can show us our sins, but He cannot and will not force us to overcome—that decision is ours. We must see ourselves for what we are and have the desire to make the conscious choice to change. Thus, Paul instructs us in Philippians 2:12-13:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Setting Spiritual Goals
Jesus asked similar intriguing questions in Matthew 9:28 and John 5:6: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Do you want to be made well?” As the omniscient One, He knew what they needed. However, He often questioned those desiring healing, prompting them to express their need and faith in words so that, in a fuller exercise of faith, they would be prepared to receive the desired blessing. His question, then, is intended to produce a dynamic exercise of faith in the men and to be a sign that He was willing to aid them.
When Bartimaeus answers Jesus, he addresses Him respectfully. In the King James Version, all three accounts indicate that he uses “Lord.” But in Mark, the word rendered “Lord” is different than those in Matthew and Luke: rabboni, correctly translated in the New King James Version, meaning “My great master.” Akin to “rabbi,” it is a higher and more respectful term. It is found only in Mark 10:51 and John 20:16, where Mary Magdalene uses it of Christ after His resurrection. We must honor the One from whom we seek aid.
Their earnest request is illuminating: “Lord, that our eyes may be opened” (Matthew 20:33). Unless we confess our need, showing our desire to have the need filled by Christ, He will take no action. The same is true in the matter of salvation: We must confess that we are a sinner if we expect to be forgiven and saved. The apostle John writes, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). No confession to God means no forgiveness and no salvation.
God's blessings, like this healing, are intended to improve our devotion to Him, but people often pervert their blessings to other uses. Many become distracted by them, leading to backsliding. We should instead follow the example of our Savior, who came, not to be served, but to serve.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing Blind Bartimaeus
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope - This is Paul's reason for writing the epistle. They were enduring great pressure to relax their standards. Some were beginning to return to their former beliefs and to the world. Apostasy had begun to set in.
Today in the confusion of the times, we can allow our foundations to be chipped away by listening to the myriad of differing opinions and beliefs. So many voices babble incessantly, each one trying to get our attention, that they can nearly drive us mad with confusion! Confusion not only affects what we believe but also our zeal for God's way of life. It is imperative we "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
Jesus gives us this warning in His messages to the Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia churches:
But hold fast what you have till I come. . . . Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. . . . Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 2:25; 3:3, 11).
It is of paramount importance to keep a firm grip on the true teachings of God's Word.
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Stir up love means "to arouse to love." We have an obligation to do this because of both love and faith. We see it in two different contexts: In Hebrews 3:12-14, the subject is faith or belief. In Hebrews 10:23-25, the subject is love. In both cases, exhortation within our fellowship can increase either one or both of them.
The writer says that we have to confess our hope. Confess means "to make it known, to reveal." We must make our hope known. Undoubtedly, he means the great hope of the resurrection of the dead, but it is probably not limited only to that hope but includes other hopes that we have.
It is the accomplishment of these hopes that we are to exhort our brethren about: "Hang in there!" "Hold fast!" "Have you tried praying about that?" "Have you sought the advice or counsel of this person?" "Do you think it would help for you to do this or that thing?" "I had a problem like that one time." By doing this, we begin to pool our resources and experiences, and there is wisdom, God says, in a multitude of counselors. It cannot help but build people up, and our fellowship becomes stronger as we share one another's hopes and dreams.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Fervency
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