Being EagerRelated Media
In Psalm 56 David begins his psalm with a plea to the Lord for deliverance, because “all day long they press their attack” (vv. 1-2).1 He goes on to state that though he was somewhat afraid, he put his full trust in God (vv.3-4). 2
He then returns to emphasizing his plight. Not only do the enemies falsely malign him, twisting his words, but “plotting to harm him” (v. 5). Even worse, they await an opportunity “eager to take my life” (v. 6).
In a similar vein of thought, a later psalmist explains that God has often provided for his followers despite their times of unfaithfulness (cf. Ps. 78:23-31); indeed, “they kept on sinning” (v. 32). So it was that when God reprimanded them (vv. 32-33), they “eagerly turned to him again” (v. 34). Interestingly, Joseph Alexander remarks, “it was only at these times of peculiar suffering that the people, as a body, called to mind their national relation to Jehovah, as their founder, their protector and their refuge.3
Turning to the book of Proverbs, it is of special interest to note that Proverbs 28:20, 22 contain some special observations regarding eagerness.
A faithful man will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished….
A stingy man is eager to get rich
and is unaware that poverty awaits him.
In the former case, there is an interesting contrast between believers, a truly faithful believer and one who is greedy for financial gain. The former person will receive God’s blessing, while the latter will eventually be punished for his (or her) actions. A similar, perhaps more drastic, fate awaits the person who strives for riches in any way that they can be obtained. Such a person is likely to fall into poverty. As Allen Ross observes:
The idea is that the first is faithful to his obligations to God and to other people; but the one who hastens to make riches is at the least doing it without an honest day’s work and at the worst dishonestly. In a hurry to acquire wealth, he falls into dishonest schemes and bears the guilt of it – he will not be unpunished.4
A much better case can be seen in a faithful wife of noble character:
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She beings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. (Pr. 31:11-12)
Rather than waiting to be served, she herself serves her husband and engages in many activities in caring for her family (vv. 14-31). So it is that she deserves credit for her industrious efforts. As McKane remarks: “She deserves a good reputation and a high standing in the community.”5 Would that all of us followed the faithful example of this lady of noble character!
Indeed, as the Apostle Peter states in his first epistle, to the faithful believer it maybe said, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed” (I Peter 3:13). Accordingly, may we be eager to do good, for in so living, no harm will come to us. As Peter proclaimed, this is especially true for those in authoritative positions. Yes, our leaders should especially be “eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (I Peter 5:2-3).
Not only is this true for leaders but for all believers. True believers should be “eager to make your calling and election sure. For to do these things you will never fail” (2 Peter 1:10). As Osborne remarks, “the sense of being ‘eager’ here connotes ‘zeal’ and or ‘great energy or effort’.”6 Peter goes on to state that the faithful believer, “will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). A good scriptural example can be seen in the Apostle Paul who tells the Corinthian believers of the faithful ministry of Titus (2 Cor. 8:16-19). As the footnote in the NIV points out “giving to others is a demonstration of the righteousness of God in our lives, apart from which there could be no salvation.”7
Ultimately, we believers know that we are blessed with the privilege of living expectantly and eagerly awaiting the second coming of Christ our Savior. As Paul so clearly expresses it, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to being everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:20-21). What a blessed hope is ours! As H.L. Turner expressed it:
O Joy! O Delight! Should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying –
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into Glory
When Jesus receives His own.8
1 All scriptures referenced are from the NIV.
2 Yet, as E. Schuler English once said, “Christians may take heart when troubles arise, for the Lord is available to protect or deliver His saints…. Nothing can touch the child of God outside of His permissive will.” See E. Schuler English, “The Life and Letters of Saint Peter”, (New York: Publication Office, “Our Hope”, 1943), 200.
3 Joseph A. Alexander, “Commentary on Psalms”, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991), 339.
4 Allen P. Ross, “Proverbs” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), V:1108.
5 William McKane, “Proverbs”, (Philadelphia: Westminster, n.d.), 670.
6 See further, Grant R. Osborne, “1-2 Peter” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2011), XVIII:296.
7 Faith in Action Study Bible – NIV, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2005), 1911.
8 H.L. Turner, “Christ Returneth!”, (v.3).