Ever been persecuted? Before answering that, let’s take a minute to understand what “persecuted” actually means. Here’s the definition:
Now answer the question. Have you ever been persecuted?
When I was in junior high, a “friend” of mine loved me one minute, having me over for the weekend and calling me her best friend, and then hated me the next minute, spreading lies and writing mean notes. If I knew the definition of persecution at the time, at least the second one listed above, I would have said that’s what I was experiencing.
But when I read stories of 12-year-olds committing suicide because of bullying and find out the bullies pursued her far beyond the school walls, I realize I was far from persecuted.
David was definitely persecuted. Many people, including his own son, persecuted him by pursuing him and trying to kill him.
Jesus was persecuted too. People spread rumors about Him and eventually succeeded in killing him. They thought they won. They didn’t.
There are many ways to deal with persecution. Suicide. Eye for an eye. Vengeance. I chose depression and self-hatred.
But David gives another option in Psalm 7. Please read Psalm 7, again if you read it before starting this post, and try to identify what David’s words suggest we do when persecuted.
You’ll find the answer not quite mid-way through the Psalm in verse 6. David cries out to God, acknowledging Him as a fair Judge over all.
David also acknowledges that while God on the hand deals fairly with evil, He on the other hand protects the “true and right” (v 10).
God can do both perfectly, you know. He can meter out justice fairly and at the same time come to the aid of the obedient.
How can He do this? Why should we leave this judgment of those who persecute up to God? Verse 9 tells us that only God can look into the mind and heart. In other words, only God knows true intentions.
We can evaluate (judge) actions, but only God knows the true intentions of the heart and mind. Only He can decide someone’s ultimate fate. Let’s determine today to let God do what only He can do.
Before we close today’s devotion, we need to acknowledge that David was just a man. Of course he’s going to call on a higher power when his back is, literally at times, against a [cave] wall. So let’s look to a perfect example, to Jesus. What does Luke 23:34 say Jesus did while being persecuted? He sought forgiveness for His persecutors. In other words, He – God in flesh – let God the Father handle it.