The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 68 of 144
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And I beseech you let not his report
Come current for an accusation.
Betwixt my love and your high majesty" (King Henry IV).
Both the patient Jobs and the impatient Hotspurs of our acquaintance need
sympathetic treatment if we would speak the word in season. Bildad and Zophar but
follow Eliphaz in stirring up rebellion where they might have soothed and calmed. They
brought their dead theories up against Job's living experience and failed. Job himself in
the days of his affluence had been a royal sympathizer.
"'Twas mine to choose their way, and sit as chief;
As king among his subjects so I dwelt;
And among mourners as a comforter" (Job 29: 25).
Here the LXX uses the word sympathy. Turning to the N.T. we find sumpatheo in
Heb. 4: 15; 10: 34; and sumpathes in I Pet. iii.8. The great high priest who has passed
through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, in all His greatness knows by experience the
pilgrim pathway.
"For we have not an high priest who cannot sympathise with our infirmities, but was
in all points tempted like as we are, apart from fin" (Heb. 4: 15).
Christ is the true sympathizer.
"For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that
are tempted" (Heb. 2: 18).
Note how truly sympathetic this is. It does not say He is able to succour because He is
Divine, because He is the Saviour, or even because He is High Priest, but because He
Himself hath suffered being tempted. In Heb. 10: 34, 35 we have sympathizers ranking
with those who endured a great fight, and who lived by faith:--
"Ye became companions of them that were so used, for ye had sympathy with those in
Some passed through active conflict for the truth, others "sympathized", silently stood
with them, outwardly perhaps escaping the suffering, inwardly sharing and supporting
those who were afflicted.
Have you a dear one, one for whom you pray, who at present does not enjoy the
fullness of blessing that you have received? Are your overtures resented, do you often
feel sore wounded by their refusal to hear or consider? Have you ever stopped to review
your own attitude? Are you riding rough shod? Are you giving all "doctrine" and little
"practice"? Perhaps the one thing needful is a little sympathy. Where crude doctrine
may repel, a loving word, a kindly thought, a sympathetic act, look, or silence may break
the barrier. You may be a wife, a husband, a lover, a parent, a child. Go out of your way
to seek to understand the point of view of the other. Put yourself in their shoes, view the
truth and your own actions from their point of view. Let us remember the present office