2Co 1:15-18 “And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.”
Paul had a great confidence (trust) in the mutual rejoicing in the Lord Jesus, by the grace of God, between himself and the saints at Corinth. This caused him to have a desire to see them, and it was in his mind to get in an extra visit with the church there. His desire was not just a matter of personal preference. His intent was for the church to have the unexpected blessing of hearing the gospel from himself and his traveling companions.
Although he had thought to stop by and visit on his way to Macedonia and then come back when he left Macedonia to spend more time with them, this obviously was not working out. The reason Paul was hindered was probably due to the extreme distress he found himself in that he alluded to in verse eight of this same chapter. However, based on the tone of his expression in verse seventeen, it would appear that some had indicated that perhaps Paul’s word was not to be believed. He said he was coming and then did not show up.
He also expressed that he thought to “be brought” on his way toward Judea when he passed back though. Again, some might have whispered that Paul was just taking advantage of them and their hospitality. Paul therefore inquired of them if they really thought that he was so erratic in his thinking (used lightness) that he would deliberately mislead them about his intentions.
In his rhetorical questioning of the brethren at Corinth, Paul was pointing out to them that he did not do or purpose to do things because it was pleasing to his flesh. He was not wishy-washy (yea yea, and nay nay) about his intentions. Paul’s trust was always in the grace of God. He further assured the brethren that, just as surely as God was trustworthy, he had not intended to mislead the church at Corinth.
Paul was able to call upon his past actions to demonstrate his trust in God. He was able to point the Corinthian brethren back to those actions as proof that he had never dealt falsely with them. His purpose and intent were pure, and he was pressed out of measure to the extent he was not able to do as he intended.
As servants of the True and Living God, we are sometimes unable to fulfill our desire in visiting the saints. It is incumbent upon us to live our lives in such a way that we can point to our faithfulness by the grace of God in the past to stop the mouths of those who would speak evil of us to the brethren in the present. To borrow an adage I grew up with, we should say what we mean and mean what we say. Then, if we are unable to fulfill our purpose at some point, it will not be difficult for our brethren to believe that we were unable and not simply unwilling.
May we always walk in the grace of God so that our word is not yea and nay!