Open Heavens 3 July 2018: Guilty of Being Righteous! – Pastor E.A Adeboye
Memorise: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. – Matthew 5:11
Read: Daniel 6:3-10 (KJV)
3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.
7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 26-27, Acts 21:17-36
Persecution is the harassment and suffering that people and institutions inflict upon others for being different in their faith, world view, culture or race, with the intention to intimidate, silence, denounce, convert or even kill them. The story of man outside the Garden of Eden begins with the persecution of the righteous by the unrighteous in Genesis 4:3-8. Abel was killed by Cain simply because God respected Abel’s offering and considered him to be righteous (Hebrews 11:4). Lot’s experience, as narrated in 2 Peter 2:7-8, illustrates the suffering involved in refusing to conform to popular culture. Daniel was persecuted because he disregarded the king’s decree by praying to the God of heaven. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were persecuted because they refuse to worship the image of the king (Daniel 3). Psalm 119:84-87 speaks of the cry of the righteous one who was being persecuted for upholding God’s word. Various prophets of God in the Bible also suffered persecution because they tried to live out the will of God in adverse circumstances. Jesus Himself noted in Luke 11:50-51 that the persecution of God’s people began from the foundation of the world and would continue throughout history.
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;…” – John 15:20
Based on these words of our Lord, persecution is a hard part of life to be faced bravely, and a hallmark of genuine children of God. Are your Christian virtues causing you problems with your friends, colleagues, neighbours, family members or boss? Have you been tagged antisocial because of your modest way of dressing, attitude to the opposite sex, refusal to consume alcohol or other stimulants, and rejection of a worldly lifestyle? Have you been told that you may never make it becomes you have refused to participate in illegal and fraudulent business practices? Have you been told as a woman that you may never get a man to marry you unless you wear skimpy dresses and make up excessively? Are you under any pressure to join a cult or swear allegiance to someone or something in order to make it in life? Are you under any attack because of your constant praises to God, Bible study or witnessing about Jesus? Do not yield to any of these threats or believe their lies. Rejoice because the Lord has pronounced His blessings on everyone who endures persecution to the very end (Matthew 5:10-12). The blessings of the Lord will be permanent in your life in Jesus’ Name.
Prayer Point: Father, please strengthen my resolve to endure persecution to the very end in Jesus’ Name.