“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
One of the sure marks of divine intervention is the preservation of delicate, fragile things in environments in which they would otherwise be destroyed. In the days of Noah, for instance, the devastating hydrodynamic forces of the Genesis flood completely destroyed the world. If not for God’s supernatural preserving power, Noah’s ark and its precious cargo would have surely perished (Genesis 8:1). We see God’s miraculous preserving power in the days of Moses also, when he was drawn aside by a bush that was burning and yet not consumed (Exodus 3:1-3). Later in his ministry, the LORD miraculously intervened to preserve the clothing and footwear of the wandering Israelites; in 40 years no one needed to replace their wardrobes! (Deuteronomy 29:5) Later in Israel’s history, three Jewish captives in Babylon refused to bow to an idol made in the pagan king’s honor (Daniel 3). Their punishment was to be thrown alive into a burning fiery furnace. These men, no doubt reflecting upon the promise of Isaiah 43:2, steadfastly refused to disobey the covenant-keeping God of their fathers. For their faithfulness, God preserved them through their ordeal. Their antagonists and persecutors were positively astonished. Daniel writes that “the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (Daniel 3:27). These and other preservation miracles (1 Kings 17:8-16; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Matthew 14:13-21) gave witness not only to God’s unspeakably great power, but to His providential care for His people. God is displaying the very same miraculous preserving power even now. As today’s verse passage indicates, Christ’s redeemed people are fragile, earthen vessels into which God has deposited His soul-saving Gospel. With the whole unbelieving world aligned against them, Christ’s saints face monumental opposition. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” said the great apostle (2 Timothy 3:12), and “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Despite the enemy’s relentless attacks on the church, Christ’s redeemed community continues to thrive. May this preservation miracle, and our own steadfastness, give irresistible twin witnesses to the unmatched power and goodness of our God.
God bless you,