Text: “Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for My sake: let not those that seek Thee be confounded for My sake, O God of Israel. Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered My face.”
Good morning, persecuted Christian! You and I are well aware of what persecutions – small and great – we suffer, merely for being born again, Bible-believing, Christian followers of Christ Jesus, our Saviour and our Lord.
No one needs to tell us that we are no longer off this world, for the world around us will not, nor cannot, receive us any longer as one of their own.
Christ in us shines through us all of the time – and because this is Spiritually so, the sins of the unsaved whom we come in contact with, are exposed to their own hearts, and we become a righteous burden to their entire way of worldly life. They hate us, because they hate Christ’s Holiness dwelling in us, ‘His people’. Biblical fact!
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)
“And ye shall be hated of all men/women for My Name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
Verse 6. “Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake. Unbelievers are ready enough to catch at anything which may turn humble faith into ridicule; there, O God of all the armies of Israel, let not my case cause the enemy to blaspheme – such is the spirit of this verse.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 300)
I remember well one day, a guy who accused me, ‘You are always preaching at me, McClinton!’. I was sat beside this guy on a plastic prison chair, so I turned to him, looked him straight in the eye, and asked him, ‘When have I EVER preached to you?’ He sat befuddled for a moment, trying to recall some instance of my preaching the Gospel to him, but after a moment he just could not recall any occasion in which I had ever actually preached to him.
He looked quite sheepishly at me and tried to justify his comment by explaining: ‘It’s just the case that, when you are sitting close to me, I find I cannot say some things I usually say, do some things I usually do comfortably – using foul language; smoking my cigarette; swearing by using the Name of Jesus Christ as an exclamation – I feel that you are preaching at me in some way!’
The Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holiness, residing in the hearts of ‘His people’, can often be tangibly felt by the unsaved worldlings all around us, without a word being spoken. In this manner we prove that genuine, Spiritually regenerate Christians, really ARE purifying ‘salt’ and ‘light’, in a world of increased apostasy, Spiritual darkness, and sinful corruption.
If Christ’s light, consistently shining through the eyes of ‘His people’, is the cause of petty, or severe persecutions – happy is the Christian who suffers. Such persecutions become positive privileges that encourage us to persevere in the “…faith once delivered unto the saints…” (Jude 3)
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
On another occasion in the prison setting, after I swatted a fly that was pestering me; an unsaved inmate immediately rebuked me with, ‘Huh! You’re some Christian! Killing a harmless fly!’
I turned to this detractor, and quietly told him, ‘If you would come down to my cell for a moment and sit with me, I would admit to you some very real faults of my old nature that I battle with day by day as a sincere Bible-believing Christian. But if killing a fly is all that you can find of a negative nature in which to accuse me – I am one happy Christian man.’ He declined the offer.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Verse 7. “Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach. Because He undertook to do the Father’s will, and teach His truth, the people were angry; because He declared Himself to be the Son of God, the priesthood raved. They could find no real fault in Him but were forced to hatch up a lying accusation before they could commence their sham trial of Him. The bottom of the quarrel was that God was with Him, and He with God, while the Scribes and Pharisees sought only their own honour.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 300)
Living as a committed, Spiritually regenerate, Bible-believing Christian, in a world of increased ungodliness and censure is hard enough. Being falsely accused, or being accused of very real failures, brings feelings of deep shame to any genuine Christian. Shame is so hard to bear. Praise God for His all-sufficient grace, which covers every fault of the true Christian believer.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Verse 7. “…Shame hath covered my face. There is nothing that a noble nature more abhors than shame, for honour is a spark of God’s image; and the more of God’s image there is in anyone, the more is shame abhorred by him. What must it be then to Christ, Who because He was to satisfy God in point of honour debased by man’s sin, therefore of all punishments besides, He suffered most of shame; it being also (as was said) one of the greatest punishments in Hell.” (Thomas Goodwin 1600-1679)
Thought: When persecuted, ridiculed, treated badly, for manifesting personal Christian character – rejoice at the utter privilege. For persecutions are proof positive of true saving faith in Christ Jesus! Glory to the risen Lamb!