But the Lord stood with me
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 2 Timothy 4:16-17
The Lord Stood with Me
Proclaiming the gospel was not an easy job as people might think as in the days of today. The apostles have to suffer a lot on account of proclaiming the gospel. Paul was no exception to that. He too had his own share of opposition, imprisonment, judgment, court procedure--all those things were there for him. How was he able to endure all these things?
"At my first defense no one stood with me, "
The Roman judge was inquiring him about his involvement in proclaiming the gospel. Not a single person stood with him. Everybody abandoned him. Like Jesus underwent, everyone betrayed and abandoned him.
Paul says, "but all forsook me."
In life also, when we are shining like a star with all achievements, people like to be close to us. But when we go through difficulties and troubles, that is when we need people to be by our side, but, most often it is then they abandon. We feel utterly lonely, isolated. It must have been terrible for Paul to endure the pain of been abandoned. But then he prays for these people, rest God might punish them. He is saying, “May it not be charged against them." What a compassionate and charitable heart Paul has!
How was he able to endure in these situations? He explains, "But the Lord stood with me,” What a fortune! The Lord standing with the one who stands for God. If you are going to stand for God, the Lord will stand for you. He has said, before man, if you are not ashamed of accepting me, I will own you, be proud of you in front of the Father. And not only that, Paul is saying, "and strengthened me." Yes, it is in those moments we need strength from heaven. The real strength that comes from God.
"so that the message might be preached fully through me,"
Even in this great difficult situation he is not giving up on his mission. He is saying, "the message might be preached FULLY." He wants to complete the task that God has given him, the task God has begun in him, he wants it to be coming to a completion.
"and that all the Gentiles might hear."
When all the apostles went on proclaiming the good news to the Jews, it was Paul who went towards the Gentiles, telling them about the fortune of accepting the gospel which had been rejected by the chosen people. Praise God that God has this arrangement through Paul! That is why you and I are fortunate to have this gospel, and this Savior and this forgiveness, and this share in this resurrection and joy.
"Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."
The Roman judge before whom he was standing could give him unimaginable punishment but "I was delivered". Imagine, the comparison he says is "out of the mouth of the lion." Such great danger was awaiting, yet God saved. God saves people who trusts Him and serve Him.
May we have complete trust in this God who strengthens us, who delivers us, and live for Him all through our lives.
Abba, Thank You for standing there for us when we stand for you. Let Your Spirit strengthen us, as you have sent an angel to strengthen Your Son JESUS when He was in the garden of Gethsemane. So, we may be also strengthened, we may be also delivered, from the mouth of the lion which may try to threaten and devour us. But we know that You are there to rescue us from ANYTHING that is trying to harm. Like You saved Prophet Daniel out of the mouth of a lion. Out of the mouth of a lion, like you saved Paul, save each and every one who is involving in the ministry of proclaiming gospel to the people. In Jesus' Most Powerful Name, Amen.