1 A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5.10
As we seek to live a godly life in obedience to Christ, we will at times find those around us who do not like it. During the days of the Protestant reformation, there was much persecution of those who were seeking a purer form of biblical reality in their lives and in their communities. Today even Catholic theologians acknowledge that much of what happened in the Reformation was necessary and good, that gross errors had come into the Church and needed to be corrected. Often transformation for good comes with immense opposition.
Today, research shows that the most persecuted group of people globally are Christians, people who call themselves by the name of Christ and are seeking to follow after him. The numbers are staggering. It is happening in many countries and among many ethnic groups. In a number of settings, taking a stand for Jesus Christ, being baptized and choosing to align with Christ brings immediate persecution, and sometimes death. We are seeing this in a number of places where we work, and let us pray for the courage and the faith of those who are spreading the message of Christ, knowing that this kind of opposition is what they are facing. And let us pray for those who are coming to faith in Christ, and facing this kind of persecution.