DAY TWENTY-SEVENTHE DIFFICU BEINGLTIES AND REWARDSOF BEING FAITHFUL
‘Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation 10 days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give the crown of life.’(Revelation 2:10.)
Jesus begins this admonition by going into detail what his faithful ones are about to face. When we know beforehand about a difficulty, we can prepare ourselves for its arrival. In Matthew 24, in the Olivet discourse, Jesus does something similar. He warns his followers of the events that will precede his coming so that they will not be surprised when it arrives and they will be ready. This is what God is doing for those in Smyrna. First, he tells them that difficulty is coming. Don’t be fearful. The difficulty in the trial comes when we are not ready for it but now Jesus tells His Saints that it is coming and if we are ready to fear need not overcome us. When we are forewarned, that should be the means to prepare us. Once we are prepared, we are ready to face it.
Next, Jesus says that Satan will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried. That explains not only where the difficulty comes from but why it exists. The purpose is to see what they are made of. The trial will be intensive. It will test their most vulnerable areas and his purpose is to cause them to give up. God encourages them during this great time of trial to persevere. Satan’s outcome is to destroy God’s purpose is to cause perseverance. Again God in his mercy gives us some detail as to what they can expect and how they may prepare themselves for when it comes.
Finally, God tells them that their trial will last 10 days. There are several things that can be understood by this. First, 10 days may express how long the trial will be, but most of all it tells us that it will not continue. God is still in control about how far Satan can go in testing his Saints. That word becomes to me from the apostle Paul when he expressed the difficulty faced was’ my grace is sufficient for thee’. Although the context is different from Paul’s there is still a truth here that we could latch our faith to God’s grace will be available when we need it. He will help us to say no, he will help us to endure pain, and sometimes if necessary, he will enable us to face death graciously. Such examples we see in the life of Jesus Himself and in the martyr Stephen. Jesus cried’ forgive them for they know not what they do’. Stephen cried out’ lay not this sin to their charge’.
Finally, Jesus places before them a reward that awaits them. It is like the runner looking forward to the crown of victory. Jesus says’ be thou faithful even to the point of death, and I will give thee a crown of life’. Think not that their crown will be dependent on their ability to endure, rather, that their faithfulness will occur because God himself through his Holy Spirit is with them producing the spirit of endurance. The crown of life awaits the faithful. That is the message.