DayBreaks for 03/19/13 – The Truth About Nails
Acts 2:46-47 (NLT) – They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
When one thinks about how people have been discriminated against and persecuted throughout history, the Jews certainly come to mind. They have faced a long history of it, there is no doubt. Today, the most oppressed people on the face of the earth are the 250 million Dalits living in India.
The Christian church has also been persecuted nearly from the beginning of its existence. It wasn’t long before the Jewish leaders, who themselves had been oppressed by Rome, were oppressing the Christians. It’s recorded in Acts, shortly after the verse quoted above.
In his book, Who Is This Man?, John Ortberg sets out to explore the impact of this man, Jesus, on human history. He makes the observation that powerful regimes throughout history often establish their calendar around their own rule and existence. The Roman emperors developed a calendar that revolved around the years of their reign and all of past history was dated in comparison with the founding of Rome itself. The leaders of the French Revolution tried to enlighten us all by creating a calendar dating from the Age of Reason.
In more modern times, the USSR dated time from the overthrow of the tsar, when power was theoretically given to the masses. As part of that process, it formed the “League of the Militant Godless” in the 1920’s in an effort to stamp out the Christian faith. A 1929 magazine cover showed two loyal workers dumping Jesus out of a wheelbarrow. But there was a problem: the leader of the League, Yemelian Yaroslavsky, found the stubbornness of the Christian faith to be very perplexing, remaking, “Christianity is like a nail. The harder you strike it, the deeper it goes.”
That is what our faith is supposed to be like. When we are hammered or oppressed, our faith should go deeper, it should be harder to remove from the warp and woof of our very life. I wonder: what would happen to my faith if the hammer blows started falling? Some of my co-workers are facing that very occurrence as they work overseas in countries where the oppression and persecution are ratcheting up nearly every day.
When persecution struck the early church, the church spread like wildfire because the nails went deeper and people carried the message wherever they went. They didn’t back off when things got a little dicey, or when the opposition merely belittled or made fun of them. We have a rich heritage of faith that we need to emulate…and we need to be ready to accept the hammer blows when, and if, they come to us.
PRAYER: Lord, let our faith deepen and strengthen to meet the challenges of the times in which we live. Let us not shrink back with fear and trembling! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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