The word sends chills down the spine of any young child being disciplined. It means there will be unpleasant results of whatever transgression they committed.
When we sin and disobey God, there are always consequences as a result, and they are never pleasant.
But did you know that the Bible says there will be consequences when we choose to obey as well?
You are probably wondering how there could be anything but good results when we choose to obey God. In 1 Samuel 22:6-19, however, we see a horrible tragedy as a result of obeying God.
1 Samuel 22:6-19 tells the story of a tyrannical king Saul. King Saul is very jealous of David, who he knows is going to succeed him as king and wants to stop. Saul has his heart set on killing David.
In Chapter 21, David had gotten help from a priest named Ahimelech. David was short on food and had no weapon as he was running away from Saul, so he had asked Ahimelech for help. Ahimelech had helped David graciously by giving him bread and a sword.
While the bread was holy bread designated for priests, and Ahimelech had therefore broken the law by giving it to David, it likely saved David’s life. Regardless of whether or not it’s ok to break God’s law to save someone’s life, mercy and compassion were shown here by Ahimelech.
In today’s verses, King Saul finds out that Ahimelech had shown compassion to David and provided him with supplies from a member of his army who happened to witness it.
This does not sit well with Saul, and he calls Ahimelech and all the other priests from his town and after a quick questioning, orders all 85 of them to be murdered. After this, the whole town is ordered to be killed.
This is a horrible tragedy resulting from one kind act of a priest and the evil selfishness of a tyrannical king.
The compassionate action taken on Ahimelech’s part, albeit one that broke God’s law, was a kind action that resulted in his death and the death of all those around him.
This sad story can still teach us something today.
Many Christians face danger and even death daily as a result of their obedience to Christ.
According to Open Doors USA, “Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.”
322 Christians worldwide lose their lives for their obedience to Christ every single month, not counting the hundreds more who endure violence for their faith.
According to 2 Timothy 3:12, these statistics should not surprise us.
It says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Life as a Christian is not guaranteed to be easy, contrary to many who misunderstand the gospel.
We are not guaranteed health, possessions, or any other worldly blessings.
Instead, we are guaranteed to have difficult times in our lives; times of sickness, times of financial disaster, times of broken relationships.
Most of all, we are guaranteed to be, at some point in our Christian lives, persecuted on some level for our faith.
This is not a popular message today.
We don’t want to hear these things.
But these things are necessary, and in fact, are very good for us in our faith.
God grows us through our sufferings and persecutions.
There are countless verses in the New Testament admonishing us to look to Christ in our sufferings and rejoice in them, because when we respond in this way, we are bringing more glory to God than any material or relational blessing in our lives ever could.
So today, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Let’s talk in the comments below:
- Describe a time in your life when you were persecuted for your obedience to Christ.
- How have the sufferings and persecutions in your life brought you closer to God?