Each of today’s readings addresses the theme of opposition faced by the people of God.
God had caused the psalmist to see “many and bitter” troubles (Psalm 71:20), but he had hope that the Lord would restore him (v. 20), increase his honour and comfort him (v. 21). Indeed, God did indeed deliver him (v. 23), and those who wanted to harm the psalmist were put to shame and confusion (v. 24).
Various leaders conspired again Stephen. They brought false witnesses against him and accused him of blasphemy (Acts 6:8-14).
Stephen recounted the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers (7:9). God rescued him from all his troubles and he was made ruler over Egypt and Pharaoh’s palace (7:10).
Stephen remembered that God had told Abraham that his descendants would be slaves for 400 years (7:6). A later king of Egypt who did not know Joseph dealt treacherously with the people of Israel, oppressed them, and forced them “to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die” (7:18-19).
David faced a burgeoning revolution instigated by his son Absalom, who was trying to kill him (2 Sam 15:1; 16:11). Many joined the rebellion (15:13, 31; 16:1-4), including a relative of Saul who cursed David, threw stones and dirt at him, and called him a murderer who was only getting what he deserved (vv. 5-8, 13).
What opposition are you facing today?
Do you feel like Stephen or Joseph who faced horrific challenges even though they hadn’t done anything wrong? Maybe you’re like Joseph or David who were both mistreated by family members. Does your opposition make you feel like you’re a slave to something you can’t escape? Maybe you’re like the Psalmist and you feel like God is causing your problems.
Whatever situation we face, we are called to keep trusting God.
We don’t know how things will work out. Maybe we’ll be like Stephen who was martyred for his faith. Keep trusting God. Perhaps God will rescue us like he did Joseph and David. Keep trusting God. Let us trust him for he is faithful (Psalm 71:22).
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