Since the beginning there have been rebels who have hated the followers of God. Cain hated Abel because God respected Abel’s offering of lambs and rejected Cain’s offering of vegetables. God wanted shed blood to show that the payment for sin must be death. Cain was a rebel against God and persecuted righteous Abel. Cain could have benefitted from Abel’s righteousness. He could have traded with Abel vegetables for sheep, made his own offering, and God would have blessed him. Instead he chose to kill righteous Abel. The Bible is full of such stories. The persecution of the righteous by the rebels continues to this day.
Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, was blessed by God. He had dreams inspired by the Holy Spirit. His brothers did not respect his dreams or his person. They were jealous of him, threw him into a pit and sold him to slave masters. They lied to their father about his demise, causing intense grief and despair for their father which lasted for years. They could have benefitted from Joseph’s righteousness. Joseph’s brothers and all family members could have been blessed by the peace and prosperity which God would have poured out upon Joseph. Instead their pride and deceit led to years of suffering for Joseph and their father and eventual famine for themselves. However, God in his mercy blessed Joseph despite what his brothers had done and brought deliverance to them through Joseph’s righteousness. To the credit of the brothers, they did eventually repent of their sin (Genesis 42:21).
King Saul saw that righteous David was blessed by God. David had respect for the throne of the Lord and for Saul, but Saul was jealous of David and tried to kill him. Saul could have benefitted from David’s righteousness. He could have expanded his kingdom with David as his chief war officer. The blessing of the Lord on the head of David could have promoted the nation of Israel and expanded Saul’s kingdom. Instead Saul’s pride led to his own destruction. To Saul’s credit, he did not abandon Israel. He led them into his final battle even though he knew he would die in the battle.
The story of our Lord is another example of the persecution of the righteous. Nobody had ever seen miracles, healings, and teachings about the Kingdom of God such as what Jesus displayed. Furthermore, he had total power over all demons. The demons were afraid of him. Nothing like this had ever been seen on the earth before. It was obvious that he had more power and anointing by the Holy Spirit than anyone who had lived before him. Despite this, the rebels in the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians were jealous of him and many of them plotted to kill him. They could have benefitted from his righteousness. He offered them eternal life in his Kingdom if they would follow him, far beyond anything they could have imagined. Peter had a glimpse of the glory of the Kingdom when he was on the mount and saw the transfiguration of the Lord. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” 2 Peter 1:16-18. Peter benefitted from the blessings of Jesus. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, with a few exceptions, rejected his blessings because of their pride, and missed out on eternal life.
Down through the ages we have seen the blessings for our people rejected because of pride. Today there are rebels in the Israel nations. They are humanists, agnostics, atheists, communists, and liberal theologians. They believe in the power of man, not the power of God. The power of man has been tried over and over again down through history and has never achieved a fair and just society. Only when people followed the Bible could they ever achieve any freedom or justice. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8.