July 22, 2018

“Even If It Means …”-By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Far too often, I am reminded that the earthly, temporal attitudes of the world exert a powerful influence, shaping and molding the thinking of those who should be guided by the light of God’s divine wisdom.

Perhaps most would recoil from the charge that they believe in “situation ethics,” but, just confront them with a situation where obeying God’s word means significant consequences, especially physical harm, and many feel confidently justified in disobedience.

Too many follow the cowardly example of the Apostle Peter, who folded under the threat of consequences he saw Jesus enduring.

“Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.” Matt. 26:74

Contrast the world’s wimpy waffling with the courageous declaration of Queen Esther, determined to risk her life in service to God and His people.

“Bring together all the Jews in Susa and tell them to go without eating for my sake! Don’t eat or drink for three days and nights. My servant girls and I will do the same. Then I will go in to see the king, even if it means I must die.” (Esther 4:16 Contemporary English Version)

It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to face such a threat in order to do the will of God.

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to endure the fiery furnace rather than worship as “everyone” worshiped in Babylon. They courageously said to the world’s monarch, Nebuchadnezzar…

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith. History indicates that Peter learned from his failure and together with all the apostles, save John, died as martyrs. So have countless others throughout bloody centuries. In the view of the world, that makes no sense. But from the perspective of eternity, it is perfectly understandable that, “…they did not love their life even when faced with death. ” (Revelation 12:11)

Recall that it was Peter who exhorted…

“…be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. …In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word…” (I Peter 2:18-20; 3:1 NET)

John urged the Christians in Asia Minor…

“Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.” NET

Believers in many nations around the world today are suffering such persecutions. If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul…

“according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

May we courageously say, as Esther said, I’ll serve God “even if it means I must die.”

 

 

 

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