Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
'The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.'
'This is My Covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.'
Looking backwards on countries and cultures, historians debate persecution. Which people suffered harder or longer? Religious, ethnic and political persecution has destroyed countless lives. But a strong case could be made for the Jews, who endured millennia of torment: as in thousands of years and still counting.*
They've been conquered, tortured, enslaved and killed. They've been hunted, excluded and cast out. Invading armies controlled Israel for well over 2500 years. 70 years ago, the Brits pulled out, and Israel was returned to the Jews.** From that miraculous day until now, this small nation remains under attack. Its neighbors vow to annihilate it.
At the same time, God intends to bless it.*** Which purpose do you believe will prevail? Not only will Israel continue, but it will thrive because God says it will. As will people who are persecuted on His behalf, pursuing His purpose.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: See persecution differently. If you're the one who is targeted, hunker down and expect to be blessed.
If you can help someone else who hurts, because of prejudice focused on age, background, color, gender, culture, clothing, religion, ethnicity, nationality, infirmity, poverty, uncommon appearance or unusual circumstances, stand up to the bullies and do so!
In regard to God's beloved Jews and the brave nation of Israel, they are your God-appointed brethren, and Jerusalem is His treasure. You are destined to unite with them.
To Be Continued...
* Short article, Jewish persecution: http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/HistoryJewishPersecution/
* Short article, Timeline of Jewish persecution: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/HistoryPersecution.htm
** Short timeline: Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People, http://www.science.co.il/Israel-history.php
*** The Jews in End Time Bible Prophecy: http://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-jews-in-end-time-bible-prophecy/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.