Conviction. Ahimelech was a man of conviction. The Lord has challenged me this week with the account of Ahimelech, and the choice that he made. The story begins in 1 Samuel 21 and concludes with Ahimelech's death, the death of his family, and his town in 22. Ahimelech was the priest that David ran to and lied to when he fled from Saul. Saul found out that David had been helped by Ahimelech, and he considered Ahimelech an accomplice to the fugitive, and thus, Ahimelech faced the consequences. I'm amazed at the conviction that Amihelech had. You can hear his conviction in the way he responds to Saul in 1 Samuel 22:14-15.
Generations earlier, Joshua told the Israelites that they would have to choose whom they would serve (Josh. 24:14-15), but I'm not certain that any of them would have ever thought they would face the likes of King Saul. So, here's the point this week: As a follower of Christ, have you considered that Ahimelech's fate could be your fate one day?
Maybe it sounds absurd to you, but church history if full of these stories. Do yourself a favor and spend some time reading the famous Foxe's Book of Martyrs. John Foxe compiles numerous accounts of Christians that gave their lives over hundreds and hundreds of years for the sake of the gospel. Get a copy on Amazon or read the free pdf, but read it! Be inspired by the heroes of our faith. Realize that "comfort Christianity" is abnormal over the past 2,000 years. Choosing where you worship, the people you worship with, the style of music or dress, the bible translation the preacher preaches from, the time of day you worship, whether you sit on a pew or a chair, whether you sing from a screen or a hymnal -- these are all such trivial choices that the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history have never even dreamed of making. Most Christians would be amazed at the superficial matters Christians get upset about today. Centuries upon centuries of believers have died simply because they refused to recant faith in Christ, and American Christians today will leave their local fellowship because someone made a comment about them or a guest takes their seat.
Lest you think that choices like Ahimelech had to make are a thing of the past, consider some of these current events:
Persecution and martyrdom are not unusual and they are not things of the past. Rather, they are actually normal for Christianity, and they are very much a thing of the present day and age in which we live.
Consider the words of Jesus:
I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. - John 16:1-4
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.- Matthew 10:38-39
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:10-12
What can you do?
Pray - Pray for your brothers and sisters around the world.
Perhaps consider learning more about the persecution that Christ's church is facing today: Voices of the Martyrs
Be prepared - choose this day whom you will serve!
This is the dark world that Christ has left his church in to be light. It is a high and costly calling. Ahimelech paid the cost. Paul paid the cost. James paid the cost. Phillip, Simon, Peter, Matthew, Andrew, Matthias, Mark, Jude, Bartholomew, Thomas, Luke, and innumerable other believers - all paid the ultimate price of their lives for the sake of the gospel. Will you?
Watch Sunday's sermon beginning at 29:00: