Friday (July 13): Scripture:
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.
Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says his disciples must be sheep in the midst of wolves? The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace (Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25). This certainly refers to the second coming of Christ when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus after he has put down his enemies and established the reign of God over the heavens and the earth. In the meantime, the disciples must expect opposition and persecution from those who oppose the gospel. Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it?This is not the world’s way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk, Churchill offered his country blood, toil, sweat, and tears. This is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord Jesus commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. Are you willing to accept hardship and suffering in following after the Lord?
“Lord Jesus, help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will”.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in thy sentence and blameless in your judgment.
8 Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.