2 Timothy 4:9-22 You are never alone even when you are at your worst

2 Timothy 4:9-22 You are never alone even when you are at your worst

9 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Background

Paul wrote the last paragraph of this last epistle before facing execution in the Roman prison. He recalled extreme persecutions when he singlehandedly stood against the opposers of the gospel. Paul, despite being abandoned by many of his associates was never alone. There were many who stuck with him even when he was at his worst. Therefore, we must take joy in those who remain with us while letting go of those who choose to abandon ship. Today’s devotion reminds us that you are never alone even when you are at your worst.

Observation

Make every effort to come to me soon…

Paul wrapped up his letter with explicit instructions calling Timothy to come to him. There was a hint of desperation as he mentioned three close associates who left him and that only Luke remained. However, Paul bounced back with a string of instructions to pick up Mark, and to bring the cloak, the books etc. He also warned Timothy to guard against Alexander the coppersmith.

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me…

Paul provided some back story as to why his close associates left him. He was at the time defending the truth: salvation comes through repentance and faith in God, and not limited to those who observe the Law of Moses. With great persecutions, the opposers were hindering Paul from preaching the gospel to the gentiles. Those who deserted Paul put their personal interests above the kingdom’s work. As it played out, Paul was delivered from physical harm (and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth) as his opposers could not stand up to the truth. And that resulted in the gospel being proclaimed to the Gentiles (and that all the Gentiles might hear.) Indeed, Paul had time and time again experienced God’s faithfulness in delivering him from temptations that he could not bear (The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed). Paul had only one desire; to accomplish his mission so that he may be received into heaven and glorified ( … and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom). Indeed, only those who through many temptations and tribulations accomplish their mission can obtain the crown of righteousness and glory.

Truth

You are never alone even when you are at your worst

Paul, despite being attacked by the opposers and abandoned by his associates overcame great odds to proclaim the gospel to the gentiles. His associates, though many, had not intended to lay down their lives, to stick with him for the sake of the gospel. However, Paul’s success was attributed to many who stuck with him through persecutions. Luke continued to remain with him and Onesiphorus who relentlessly searched him out (v1:16-17). There were also those he mentioned at the closing of this letter: Prisca, Aquila, and Erastus, Trophimus, and Eubulus, Pudens and Linus, Claudia and all the brethren. Indeed, there were more who remained with him than those who left him. However, even if none stayed with him, the Lord remains faithful and will deliver him from all temptations.

Many bemoan their losses preferring to focus on those who left them rather than those who stuck with them. Indeed, God has predestined for us people who will walk with us until we fulfil our calling. That said, we have to be wise when it comes to discerning our acquaintances. Bad times are like glasses, it helps you see clearly to know people. For you’ll only realise who’s really there for you when you’re at your worst. Proverbs says,

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Indeed, God will provide a friend who will stick closer than those whom you supposed are your brothers. Having said all that, we must strive to be a faithful person and never leave our friends at their time of dire need.

Application

Have you recently experienced the loss of a close friend? True friends are those who will stay close by despite your imperfections and will not abandon you when you need help. If we strive to be a good and faithful friend to the people around you, God will place faithful people in our lives. And you will find yourself in abundance of counsel and help in times of need.

Dear Lord, I thank you for the faithful people that you have placed in my life. Cause me to be faithful to my family, friends and church. Unite our church in love so that we can stand against the persecutions of the world. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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