This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Constantin Caraman (from Romania. Mr. Caraman served three prison terms for his faith in Jesus Christ), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
I have sinned against the Lord. (2 Samuel 12:13)
It takes courage to tell a king the truth, especially when the truth will result in punishment. Punishment for the king (by God) and punishment for yourself (by the king). John the Baptist did it and it cost him his head.
When David made some serious mistakes, God sent the prophet Nathan to point them out to him. It was a difficult task for Nathan. Which one of us would like to be a bearer of bad tidings? But Nathan went to tell the king what the consequences of his sin would be. How did David react? Did he have Nathan killed? No, David did something unusual--he accepted the criticism and admitted the guilt: 'I have sinned'.
He did not try to defend himself, but humbled himself before God. Is this not characteristic of a man after God's own heart?
'Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.'
A moment of introspection: With the announcement in the last two days, of the "Hate Crime Bill" having been passed and sent to the White House for signature, the stage has been prepared for the further marginalization of Christianity in our beloved country. Both the onslaught against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the looming ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) will serve to further erode rights that Christians have had (and still to a large extent have) in America--which was founded, based upon Christian principles from its outset. See the devotional entitled: "The Coming Persecution". The days ahead will require greater boldness on our part, "courage" as Mr. Caraman expressed it, in confronting the encroaching darkness. I have been memorizing Romans 1:16, for I am not ashamed of the gospel; we all may well need such boldness in responding to our civic environment, and as the book of Joshua speaks to us, we are to hold fast to the Lord (Joshua 23:8). Constantin reminds us that even though the night approaches, even though greater anti-Christian persecution is likewise drawing nigh, we are not to be anxious or fearful; Paul told the church in Philippi that very thing, and he holds the command out to us as well: "Do not be anxious about anything..." (Philippians 4:6-7) Isaiah proclaimed that we are to be neither fearful nor dismayed... (Isaiah 41:10)
So how do we avoid anxiety in these troubled and troubling times? ...by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. In our Houses Of Prayer (everywhere), we have seen both the pain and the faith of our worldwide Christian family amidst travail. We have seen God actively at work in suffering Christian communities, providing escape, relief, aid and succorance, and rebuilding broken lives. So we know that God works actively to guard hearts and minds of believers through His peace.
Are we called to strive boldly for our Christian faith in a post-Christian land? Take guidance from God's Word. The Psalmist said "When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted." (Psalm 138:3) The writer of Proverbs remarks "The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1) The apostle Paul addressed the church at Corinth and said to them, "Therefore, since we have such a hope*, we are very bold." (2 Corinthians 3:12; * cf Romans 8:25) In each case, boldness comes from the righteousness of Christ alone. Are we sufficiently bold to tell a king the truth, even though the truth will result in punishment? Be strengthened by God's Word, through prayer. Do we lack such boldness? Then pray diligently for bold Christians willing to tell the Truth to those in power wherever we live.