“My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore Your words.” -Psalm 119:139
Do not cast your pearls before swine. Those who willfully reject the truth of God cannot love and treasure the Pearl of Great Price the way you do. This is applied to those who continually reject the Gospel. Be zealous for God, but if His Word is not received, shake the dust from your feet and move on. There is much Kingdom work to attend to in these last days.
This does call for discernment with whom we share the Gospel with and for how long. Anyone who does not yet know the Lord is His enemy, as we once were. Praise God for His mercy that someone shared the Good News with you and me! Yet spiritual ground is harder in some places in the world and may take years to penetrate. It reminds me of the missionary William Carey. He could have echoed the psalmist’s words. As a missionary to India, Carey had no convert for seven years. SEVEN. Even in his zeal for the Lord and obedience to His call, he too grew discouraged at times. Yet Carey kept plodding, as he calls it, attempting great things for God because he expected great things from God. The Lord was merciful to begin a spiritual awakening in the heart of India because Carey was a willing servant. His zealous life became an instrument of grace among those enslaved to false religions and vices. His enemies became his brothers in Christ.
The psalmist rightly handles his enemies by crying out to God first. It is a principle all Christians are to follow, entrusting Him who judges justly with our foes. My ESV Study Bible comments, “Believers are to be merciful, forgiving, and slow to judge, yet they should wisely discern the true character of people and not indefinitely continue proclaiming the Gospel to those who adamantly reject it, so that they can move on and proclaim the Gospel to others.” This is the command Jesus gave His twelve apostles when He sent them out to preach (Matthew 10:5-15). We are simply called to be faithful for today in proclaiming the Good News. The Lord may call some to serve Him long term toward a specific people like He did with William Carey. Others will be called to evangelize in an informal manner, with the people we see everyday. Some will be open to Christ and some will reject Jesus’ gift of salvation forever. Ultimately we trust God to work in the hearts of men. Trust and obey. Leave the results with the Lord. Some of our answered prayers and the fruit of our labors we may never see this side of Heaven. Be zealous for the One who loves you best and keep plodding.
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: Matthew 7:6-29; 9:35-10:42; Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 2:1-13