Pressure Produces Enlargement
Thou hast enlarged me when I was
under pressure" (Ps 4:1 rsv). This Psalm
was written by David after the greatest
failure of his life — his murderous, adulterous affair with Bathsheba (2Sam 11).
Because of his sin, the Lord sent severe
judgments on David. One of these was
administered at the hands of his son Absalom, who usurped the throne and drove
David into exile. Having to flee for his life
and suffer horrible indignities brought
"enlargement" to David.
Even though his problems were of his
own making, God graciously used these
judgment times to make David a better
man for the tasks yet ahead. If we acknowledge our failures and repent (renounce
and turn from our sins), God graciously
uses the chastisements and sufferings
which follow to make us better leaders.
Trials Prove And Humble Us
God wants to discover whether we serve Him because we love Him or whether we
serve Him for all the blessings He gives us. Jesus discovered that some followed
Him "for the loaves and fishes " (that is, for what they could get from Him, not
because they loved Him). Moses described God's actions in bringing the children
of Israel out of Egypt: "Who led them through that great and terrible
wilderness, where there were fiery serpents, and scorpions and drought, where
there was no water, who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; "Who
fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy/others knew
not, that he might humble thee, and that he mightiest thee, to do thee good at
thy latter end" (Deut 8:15,16).
Why did God allow such severe tests and trials?
"To do thee
good at thy latter end. " When God plans to enlarge and bless a minister or a
church. He first takes them down into depths of discouragement, into the
quagmire of hopeless situations. He does it "... so you -would never feel it was
your own power and might that made you wealthy [great] ' ' (Deut 8:17). When God
gives enlargement, pride often comes in and we think it is because of our own
cleverness or gifts that we are enjoying such blessings. Because of God's mercy
to save us from pride. He allows very hard times prior to great enlargement and
This happened in Job's life.
The devil told God, "Job only serves You
because You have blessed him with so many material blessings. Take them away and Job
will curse You." God responded to Satan's
challenge by giving Satan permission to
take all Job had.
When Satan had killed Job's flocks,
herds and children and had destroyed all
his property, how did Job respond? Job
"fell down upon the ground and worshipped" (Job 1:20). Job proved that Satan's accusations were wrong and that his
love for God was genuine. He still worshipped God when his animals, his houses,
his children and wealth were all taken
away. Job said, "Though God slay me, yet
I'll trust him" (Job 13:15).
In the end God gave back to Job twice
as much as he had before (Job 42:10). Job
became recipient of the double portion
because he proved himself God's loyal
friend even in severe times of test and trial.
"For examples of patience in suffering,
look at the Lord's prophets.... Job is an
example of a man who continued to trust
the Lord in sorrow; from his experiences we can see how the Lord's plan finally
ended in good, for he is full of tenderness
and mercy ' ' (Jas 5:10,11 tib).
Suffering Can Increase God's Power In Us
you ask for God's power in your life, you must understand what is required to
have it. David said, "He weakened my strength in the way" (Ps 102:23). When you
ask for God's power He responds, "Do you really mean it? If you are willing to
be reduced to weakness (total dependence on the Lord), and take the suffering,
tests and trials that go with it, I'll give you