John D. Barry
A commitment to honesty and truth often puts us in unexpected spiritual situations—something David experiences in 2 Sam 7. David thinks he will build God a great house—a temple—but instead God plans to build a house for him—a legacy. Because David seeks God, God does great things through him. Yet, as David discovers, being part of God’s work and living in His will isn’t without difficulty or pain.
Consciously or subconsciously, we often cling to the notion that “If I do good works for God, He will owe me.” Isn’t that the assumption behind the statement, “I am loyal to God, but He has afflicted me with pain”? We frame our pain in light of God’s role. Instead, we should view it in relation to the sin of our world. We sin, just as people did in the past, so why should we not expect pain?
Like David, Peter and his fellow missionaries experience a great deal of pain in doing God’s work. Peter encourages them by writing, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, when it takes place to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be glad” (1 Pet 4:12–13). Peter understands that the persecution they face for Christ will be used for great glory. He reminds his audience that they shouldn’t be surprised. By committing themselves to following Christ, they will inevitably clash with those who are opposed to Christ.
In response to David’s seeking God, God makes a covenant with David. Then as now, the central principle of covenant lies in God’s loyalty to us—because of Christ’s work on the cross to suffer and die for our sin—despite how much the world hates us.
Has God taught you through persecution? In what ways is God’s covenant at work among you today?
This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.