Because of you we are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
~Psalm 44:22, NRSV
As history bears witness, martyrs are not victims, they are victors–more than conquerors.
Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8 and the quote comes in the middle of the no separation passage…
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 10:16….“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
If you send a flock of sheep to a pack of wolves, what will be the outcome? How many times out of ten will the sheep win? If you said never, you would be correct. Sheep have no chance against wolves unless their shepherd is near. When you send the shepherd after the wolves, it is a different story. Think of Jason and his AK-47 as the shepherd and those six misguided coons who tried to rape his plum tree as the wolves. In Matthew 10, Jesus is sending His disciples into the towns and villages of Israel, yet He says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. If you read the rest of the chapter, you will see that Jesus tells them to expect opposition, suffering and even hatred. Christ has called us to suffer. As Joe David pointed out Sunday’s a week ago, we all want to know the “Power of His resurrection” but we shun the “Fellowship of His suffering.” We want the results but we avoid the process which achieves the results. Will Alabama have another championship caliber team? I don’t know, it all depends on the players buying in to the process and that means suffering. Trust me, football practice is a form of torture.
As for as the second part of Jesus admonition…Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” A college professor used this passage to poke fun at Jesus. He said in effect, “Evidently Jesus had no knowledge of biology for science teaches that snakes are not very intelligent.” One of his students spoke up with this retort…“Why don’t you try surviving in a desert with no legs and no arms.” Jesus was right, snakes are shrew creatures, they are always aware of their surrounding. In most cases they see you before you see them. They can survive in hostile environments for long periods of time because they know how to stay out of sight. Practically everyone hates snakes; they have few friends among the human family and yet they survive. Jesus expects us to use our brain. He told His disciples, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.” [Matthew 10:23]
The bottom line is we are all called to suffer, there is no other way to be conformed to the image of Christ. We will never know the power of His resurrection until we share in His suffering. We are going to have some defeats along the way, some set backs. Our life is not going be all roses and sunshine. God does not pamper and spoil His children. If you belong to Him, you better expect some hard times, some hard practices. He has no other way of tempering you or making you what He wants you to be. Nick Saban does not own the process: God has used it from the beginning.
Remember, Jesus didn’t tell us to be mean as snakes but shrew as snakes.
- June and I drove over to Atlanta yesterday for a baseball game. It rained on us all the way but it quit about the time we arrived at Sun Trust Park. It is a nice ball park but the corridors are too small. Rest rooms were adequate but too much congestion in the walk ways. The Braves got shellacked.
- We got back to 1120 Ironman road about 12:45. Very glad to be home…very tired so not much extra today. Have a good one.