God’s people, living in a fallen world, must not be surprised if they are unrecognized, at best, and targeted for persecution and death, at worst.
Today’s reading: Daniel 3-4; 1 John 3
28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Daniel 3:28
The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1b
The Jews living in captivity in Babylon faced serious trials. Their faith and practice got them into trouble at times but the message of Daniel is that God always saw them through vindicating their faith and His power.
Nebuchadnezzar needed repeated evidence that the God of Israel was the God Most High. When he mandated worship of an idol, the three friends of Daniel refused to bow. They were given one more chance. Once more they stood their ground and were thrown into the fiery furnace. Yet even that fire could not destroy them. They came forth without so much as the smell of smoke. Nebuchadnezzar was forced to honor God and reward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The Apostle John instructs his readers about the life of one who has fellowship with God. There will necessarily be a qualitative difference in the person who loves God. It affects his relationships with others and his attitudes toward the trinkets of this world. He practices righteousness and loves his brother. “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you, he tells them” (vs. 13). Why? Because the world did not know God.
Daniel and his friends experienced severe tests of their faith. They were prepared not to be vindicated, although they were, quite rapidly (Daniel 3:18). Others, like John, may not have seen vindication in this world but were prepared to endure until they saw Him “as he is.” Be ready for everyday persecution, but also expect to be transformed by Him when you see Him.