It is a real benefit to everyone in a town when Godís people live among them. Their attitudes are kind; and their actions are generous. They help poor people; and they look after weak people. They respect the laws of the countries where they live. But the main difference between them and other people is that they have faith. In other words, they trust God and they believe him. And that fact is enough to cause many people to hate them.
The authorís words may remind us of Joseph or Jeremiah, who both spent time in prison (Psalms 105:17-18; Jeremiah chapters 37 and 38). But Jesus taught that many of Godís servants had suffered in this manner (Matthew 5:11-12; Mark 12:2-5). And very many of the first Christians suffered like this, too.
Sometimes Godís people suffered pain and insults. But their enemies allowed them to go free.
Sometimes Godís people suffered in prison. Their enemies did not allow them to be free. In fact, sometimes Godís people were not even free to move about the prison, because chains were on their feet.
And sometimes the enemies of Godís people did not even allow them to remain alive. But it did not seem enough just to kill them. So those wicked enemies invented new and even more cruel ways to murder Godís people (Hebrews 11:37).
No innocent person should have to suffer like that. They had done nothing wrong. But they had stood for what is right. And that was why their wicked enemies were so cruel.
Their troubles were not without purpose. And they did not die in vain. It is right that there should be a test of faith (1 Peter 1:7). A test proves whether something is genuine. Through all their troubles, and even their deaths, these men and women still trusted God. That was proof of their faith.
Next part: Trust God during troubles (Hebrews 11:37)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.