“Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting Me, not you. They don’t want Me to be their King any longer.
1 Samuel 8:7
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1 Samuel 8:1-9:27
How long suffering, patient and merciful Is our God? When I read that passage, and I imagine how hurtful that rejection must have been, I’m amazed that God continued to watch over, bless, protect and deliver Israel. And of course, He has shown the same love to you, and to me, and to billions of others throughout history, even though we are also guilty of rejection and idolatry.
In the midst of this sad statement, there’s a point of encouragement for all of us who are trying to be lights in this world. If we’re doing that the right way, then the persecution we receive is because people see Jesus in us.
I see this verse in 1 Samuel as a companion verse to several others in the New Testament:
- “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first” (John 15:18).
- “You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
- “Then they will deliver you over to be persecuted and killed, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name” (Matthew 24:9).
- ”Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).
- “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).
No one likes persecution or rejection, but when you understand it’s coming your way because people recognize that you belong to God, the sting is lessened. It’s a blessing, really. It means you’ve been granted the privilege of entering into the fellowship of His suffering.