HINDERED BY SATAN
In verse 18 Paul says, “Wherefore we wanted to come to you, indeed, I Paul, both once and again, and Satan hindered us.” Because the apostles were carrying out the will of God, Satan frustrated them. Paul put the blame on Satan. In so doing he was telling the Thessalonians to shut out the Judaizers and to hate Satan. The apostles were eager to see the believers at Thessalonica, but they were hindered by Satan.
HOPE, JOY, AND CROWN
In verses 19 and 20 Paul concludes, “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Are not even you, before our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” The Greek word rendered coming in verse 19 is parousia, a word that means presence. The Lord’s coming is His presence with us. In this light these two earlier Epistles were written. Every chapter of the first Epistle ends with the Lord’s coming back.
Verse 20 indicates that since the apostles were the believers’ nursing mother and exhorting father (vv. 7, 11), the believers, as their children, were their glory and joy. Apart from them, the apostles had no hope, glory, or crown of boasting.
Here Paul seems to be saying, “You are our hope, our joy, and our crown of boasting. Brothers, we are here only for you; we are not here for anything else. If we do not have you, we do not have anything. You are our hope, even as your hope is the Lord’s coming back. Without you, at the Lord’s coming back we shall be short of joy and glory. We need you! You are our hope, our joy, our crown, and our glory before the Lord Jesus at His coming.” Once again Paul expressed deep emotion in caring for his children. He certainly was a father exhorting his children. As such an exhorting father, it seems as if Paul was saying, “Children, we are here only for you. Without you, life is meaningless. If it were not for you, we would not want even to live.” Such a word from parents is deeply touching; it touches the heart of the children.
Would you not be touched deeply if your parents wrote such a word to you? Would you not be touched if they said that without you life is meaningless, that they are living on earth only for you? No doubt, when you heard or read such a word, your tears would flow. This kind of speaking fosters children and helps them to grow.
As a good father, Paul knew how to touch the heart of his children. If you are able to touch the heart of others, you will be successful in fostering their growth. The best way to foster others is to touch their heart deeply.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)