It is indeed surprising that Scriptures bear witness to the fact of godly souls, (who would not as much as harm a fly) having more enemies, than one can remember. In this essay, for better understanding of the following:
a) Measured response of devout souls to persecution and
b) God’s ways’ of dealing with enemies of His dear ones’
I have categorized the adversaries into 3 groups…
I. Enemies stronger than us
II. Enemies as strong as us and strange, as it may seem
III. Enemies weaker than us
Let us go step by step. In this devotional let’s have a look at how God’s people have responded to the persecution from Enemies stronger than they are… Now the Early Church had a crisis. Acts chapter 12:1-4 somberly records the fact that Apostle James, the brother of Simon Peter was put to the sword and Peter himself was imprisoned by the envious King Herod. Now this Monarch who kept adding to his list of sins could not simply digest the soaring popularity of these early Christian leaders amongst the masses, hence the cruel reaction.
While King Herod’s reaction was one of brutality borne out of his jealousy, what was the response of the Spirit filled First century Church? Did it, reeling under the weight of unjust persecution, invoke God’s curses upon the cruel tyrant? NO FAR FROM IT, IT SIMPLY PRAYED FOR THE RELEASE OF PETER FROM THE JAIL.
Even as we see Peter being miraculously delivered from the prison (Acts 12:6-11), we need not even go beyond the 12th chapter of Acts, to see Divine comeuppance catching up with the heartless potentate Herod in a most melodramatic way. Scriptures point soberly that this Herod, who dared to poke his finger into the apple of God’s eye (Zech 2:8) by persecuting His dear ones, was eaten up alive by maggots (Acts 12:23). Eaten up by worms, after dying is normal but whilst still being alive! Herod got his just reward alright!
Now did the Early Church in the aftermath of cruel persecution at the hands of this brutal despot, lift as much as it’s little finger to exact vengeance? NO! God who thunders “Vengeance is mine” took care of that little unfinished business of settling scores! Enemies beware…and more importantly repent…
Join us next Tuesday for The Command and a Call, Part 3.
(To Access the entire “The Command and the Call” mini-series, please click here.)