Lord, You have promised to meet with those who seek You. Come now and reveal Yourself to me.
Read REVELATION 2:12-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Count your blessings; name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done” (Johnson Oatman, Jr.).
“There are pressures to compromise all around us—in our work, with family and friends, and through the media. What can keep us strong and enable us to continue in a life of integrity? Pergamum did not have the natural advantages of the port cities of Ephesus and Smyrna and so had to find other ways to prosper. As a result, it enthusiastically embraced the worship of the emperor as a way of demonstrating its loyalty and cultivating favor. It was the first to have a temple to “the divine Augustus and goddess Roma” erected, in 29 BC. Trade guilds would have been particularly important here, as they would also in Thyatira; the reference to “food sacrificed to idols” and “sexual immorality” (14) might be alluding to this.
The risen Christ reminds them where their real security lies. It is he, not the Emperor, who has the real power of the sword (12). True sustenance comes from the hidden manna (17), reminding us of the miraculous provision of God for his people in their desert wanderings and of the nourishment that comes from remaining faithful to God’s will for our lives. The local stone at Pergamum was black basalt; for their magnificent buildings they needed to import white marble. Benefactors would need to import white stone to carve their name on if they wanted it to be seen clearly. Jesus promises a new white stone, showing who the true benefactor is, the one who provides for us and makes us secure.
Those with strong self-esteem—a clear sense of personal security—are the ones able to resist the pressure to compromise. As we grow in our sense of spiritual identity, knowing who it is who has redeemed us, we, too, will be able to withstand the pressures to conform and compromise.”
At what points in your life do you feel the pressure to compromise? Ask God to remind you of the security you have in him.
Father, I confess I often go along with others, rather than stand firm in You. Strengthen me to be a faithful and buoyant follower of Jesus.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.