Cover to Cover
2 Timothy 4
In continuation from chapter 3, Paul exhorts Timothy to preach the Word, to convict, rebuke, and exhort with longsuffering and teaching. Timothy is a pastor, and being longsuffering is a quality pastors need in dealing with people who have lived under the deception and dysfunction of sin and false beliefs. It is a large part of the pastoral ministry to take time to teach truth in an environment where people can ask questions, where they can feel safe to express their life’s perspective, and share their pain. The Bible says, “he that wins souls is wise.” It takes wisdom to know the when, where, what, why, and the way to persuade people to not only hear the preaching of the Gospel, but to experience love, understanding, and compassion to lead people out of a dark place and into His light. I shudder to think how many people have been turned away from Christ by people who bulldoze the hurting because they fail to value longsuffering and teaching people in a way they will be able receive it. Thank God for the shepherd’s heart that understands the restoration process. Thank God for teams of people who have the shepherd’s heart to show longsuffering in the correction process, the building up process, the conviction process, and the preaching of the good news that Jesus in on their side! He will never leave them. He will never forsake them. He is slow to anger and rich in love!
In Jeremiah 27:18 God asks the prophets to make intercession to the Lord of hosts so that the vessels of the temple will stay in Jerusalem and not be taken to Babylon. Jeremiah’s message is that every Jew will be taken to Babylon, with none left behind. God would not have instructed the prophets to pray unless their intercessions would have made a difference. Prayer changes things!
The word for intercession here is paga, meaning to reach or meet someone. One use of the word is when a supplicant runs to catch up with a superior, and then reaches him with an urgent request. Therefore, intercession describes prayer that pursues and catches God’s attention, meeting with Him, and entreating Him for His favor.
Prayer is a spiritual activity, where we go after God from our spirit to pursue Him as a Spirit being. Prayer makes a connection with God in the spirit, and we receive our answers in the spirit realm, which will manifest in the natural realm, whether immediately or eventually. Manifestation often involves our obedience, our confession, our faith, our endurance, and our praise.