Scripture: Isaiah 51:7 Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people who have my teaching in your hearts; do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you.
Observation: Prophets like Isaiah were often called upon to speak unpleasant news to God’s people. Some people received the news, but many rejected it. As such, prophets were often treated badly by their own people.
Application: We live in a time when being a Christian requires us to be increasingly estranged from the culture at large. When confronted with difficult decisions, we Christians are called to pray and seek the Lord, to seek out direction from the scriptures – not simply use logic, or monitor popular opinion, to arrive at a conclusion. We Christians understand that our purpose in life is not to achieve our own dreams or self-actualization, but to serve the Lord – which can sometimes take us in the opposite direction of our own desires.
Where Christian values and American cultural values once lined up, this is no longer the case. And because we see the world differently than our secular friends, we will increasingly experience the “reproach of others”. We are, as was the case in the early years of Christianity, a peculiar people. Get used to it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give your people grace to remain faithful to you – to be “different” – in the midst of an increasingly hostile world. Amen.