DayBreaks for 6/03/15 – The Servant Under Attack

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DayBreaks for 6/03/15: The Servant Under Attack

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever been misrepresented? Has anyone ever taken your words and motives and twisted them around and used them against you? If you live long enough in this world you are going to face that kind of a personal attack.

One preacher (I think anyone of us who has stood in the pulpit has had similary experiences) recalled an instance in another church when a certain group in that church took his preaching tapes and listened to them to find words and phrases they disagreed with. Those disagreeable sayings were brought up in a business meeting and used to attack him personally. It hurt at the time, but he concluded that it was a good lesson for him. It served to remind him that God’s servants will be attacked. It also reminded him to think more carefully about his words before saying them because he might be called on to give an account of them.

For the entire duration of his earthly ministry, Jesus was surrounded by constant controversy. Nearly everyone He met misunderstood Him and what He came to this world to do. Nearly everyone was guilty of misrepresenting His words and His works. The things He did and said in love were used to attack Him in hate!

What can we do about such things?  Can we stop people from attacking us?  No.  People will not act fairly just because we wish they would.  We can learn to watch our actions and words to minimize the opportunities we might be providing others to attack us, but in the final analysis, if they want to find something to criticize us, they will find something. 

About the only other thing I can suggest about this is to accept that it will happen, and know that you’re in the very best company (Jesus’) and know that He sees and understands.  Take comfort from His Spirit and act graciously toward all.  In the final analysis, His opinion is the only one that counts.

PRAYER: It isn’t easy, Lord, when we are attacked unfairly, and we often respond very poorly.  Help us not to strike back or seek retribution, but to act like you did when it happened to you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 10/25/12 – A World Turned Upside Down

DayBreaks for 10/25/12 – The World Turned Upside Down

7 After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” – Job 42:7-8 (NLT)

By the time we reach the end of Job we’ve heard lots of posturing and grandstanding (not too unlike religious or political debates these days).  In fact, we’ve heard enough of it that we struggle to make sense of it, to stop our heads from spinning in 360 degree circles.

I would imagine that as God lights into Job about how foolish Job was in his thoughts about God, Elihu and his two friends were rubbing their hands in glee, thinking they had been vindicated in their own thinking.  But suddenly God stops questioning Job, who quickly acknowledges how wrong his ideas about God had been – or more accurately how wrong he was to think he had this God all figured out – and takes on the three so-called “friends” of Job who’d come to comfort him.  The hand wringing comes to an abrupt halt and you can almost see the three friends trying to shrink back into the background and disappear.

What has really happened here?  God has turned the world upside down.  Though many today may claim to not believe in God, they still wring their hands in delight when something bad happens to a “godly” person…and start shouting comments much like Job’s friends: “You must be an awful person.  Look at what’s happening to you!  If you were good it wouldn’t have happened…and if God were loving, He wouldn’t have done this to you.  So either you’re bad, God is not loving, or both!”  And they sit smugly hoping to see lightning strike again.

God has let them rage, just as He let Job wax eloquent, but in the end, He pulls them all up short and puts them on notice.  But what’s shocking here is a foreshadowing of the Christ Himself (and what should characterize those who are true followers).  The very one who has been reviled (Job) is now to be God’s representative to accept their sacrifices and to pray for them.  It is a picture of Christ, reviled during his trial and crucifixion, who is it that prays for the persecutors?  Jesus.

What is your reaction to those who offer you insults and charge you with evil (or stupidity) for believing that God is good?  Do you secretly long to see fire from heaven singe their heads and make their clothes catch fire and smolder?  Or, are you praying for them that they might be forgiven?

I suspect we all need for God to turn our hearts around on this one.  Jesus turned his world upside down.  Now it’s our turn.

PRAYER: God, I know that I am not always charitable to those who attack me.  I often want to see pain inflicted on them, but I know that I shouldn’t.  Help me to pray with genuine heart and clean motives for Your love to reach them.  We invite You to turn our world, and hearts, upside down and inside out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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