TITLE: From Rejection and Opposition to Promotion
By Fenny West
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Almost everyone likes to be accepted, celebrated, feted or even crowned. But before the crown there will have to be a cross, and that cross includes rejection and even vehement and venomous opposition.
We not called to please men but God and if we order our lives to please God we would be opposed, hated, vilified and crucified.
Rejection of Jesus
Jesus, anointed with the Holy Spirit went about doing good healing all that were oppressed of the devil, yet because He was uncompromising with the truth, the was rejected by the religious establishment. Even the people He came for rejected Him. People from His home town disdained Him. It is so true that familiarity breeds contempt.
Jesus Himself said a man’s enemies shall be members of His household. When you are walking in righteousness you can be sure that those who are walking in darkness will be challenged , infuriated, uneasy and they would want to put your light to put themselves at ease.
As our Master and our example, Jesus set the trail for us to follow. As He was so are we. He was opposed up to the point of being crucified on the cross like a criminal. Those who had chanted a few days earlier: Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, quickly changed their tune overnight to Crucify Him, crucify Him. At one point they wanted to throw him off a cliff edge but they could not because the time was not yet. He was scourged, bruised and battered, broken, pierced and crucified. And because He humbled himself, abandoning His glory to come and take the form of a man, God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every other Name ; and hat at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven , of things on the earth and things underneath the earth. He went from rejection and opposition to promotion. The crown followed the cross. The way up is the way down and if we renew our minds to this reality we will count it all joy when we are opposed when we are being obedient to God.
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
11 He came to His own, and His own[ did not receive Him.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Phil2:5-11
We also must walk the way He walked. We are His ambassadors here on earth. If the Master was rejected, we His servants would be rejected. And when it happens, the word of God is being made flesh in our lives; we would be identifying with his suffering…That I may know Him, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering …I have been crucified with Christ and nevertheless I live and this life I live, I live by faith in the Son of God who gave His life for me.
The Rejection of Joseph
Joseph had an unusual dream- the sun and moon and 11 stars bowing to his stars. It troubled his parents and brothers when he told them. The interpretation was obvious: he was going to rule over them and that left a sour taste in their mouth. They hated, and resented him for sharing such a dream. However Joseph dreamed again and the dream was reinforced with different imagery and in his naivety he shared his dream again and this made them hate him all the more.
Next we see them plotting to snuff out his dream by killing him but reason prevailed and first put him in the pit and later ended up selling him to make a few bob. Joseph’s dream frightened his brothers and they got rid of him or so they thought.
Later we find Joseph a slave in Potiphar’s house but because he trusted in the Lord and behaved wisely with integrity of heart, diligent in business, accountable, serving Potiphar with all his heart, God made him prosper. Whatever he laid his hands to do prospered and Potiphar observed that there was revival in the house because of the presence of Joseph. Hence he left everything in his charge. His dream had been rejected and so was he but God promoted him as a slave in Potiphar’s house.
After this promotion we see the enemy using Potiphar’s wife to tempt Joseph with a view to derailing his dream for greatness but God used it to reinforce Joseph’s character as he stood for what was right, fleeing the presence of Potiphar’s wife. Joseph is falsely accused and ends up in prison but there again God gives him favour with the chief prison officer who made Joseph an overseer of the other prisoners. It was as if the dream was never going to be fulfilled even the butler whom Joseph had encouraged and who was restored to his former glory forgot him. But God never forgets and one day following Pharaoh’s dream, which no one could interpret, the butler remembered Joseph and he was summoned to the king’s palace.
He interpreted the dream and we see Pharaoh putting a ring in Joseph’s finger, giving him a rob ad chariot a second in command in Egypt. They rejected him, opposed him sold him, thinking they were getting rid of him and his dream but in reality they were pushing him into his destiny – his promotion, the fulfilment of the dream.
Joseph Gen37:18-19, 28, 39:1-4, 7-13, 20-23,41:37-41
Is your vision opposed today because you shared it or because you are dong what you are called to do? Remain focused. Are you ejected, disdained, sidelined, slandered or persecuted because of your dream or assignment? Your enemies are working for you.
Rejection of Nehemiah
Nehemiah was in this position, burdened by the broken down wall of Jerusalem, he had a vision to rebuild it. God had granted him favour before the king who gave him some supplies for the project and also a security escort. But on arrival he meets with opposition and rejection. Sambalath and Tobias did all they could to tell him he was not welcome and that his mission will fail. Nehemiah was adamant. God gave him people who agreed with his vision and they worked tirelessly until the work was completed in a record 52 days.
(Nehemiah 2:11-12,17,19-20, 4:4-10,13,14-15,17,20, -6:1-9,15-16)
Rejection of David
David on the day of ordination was forgotten by his father, Jesse. Samuel had come to the house to anoint the next king of Israel and Jesse lined up all his sons ignoring David who was in the wilderness taking care of sheep. Samuel was nearly deceived, looking at the outward appearance but the Lord prevailed and the process of anointing was halted until the arrival of David.
Next we see David on the battle from where Goliath was tormenting Israel and everyone was quaking in their boots. It was the day for the unfolding of destiny for David unbeknown to him or any other person. But who was the first to oppose him: Eliab, his brother. He came down on David like a ton of bricks: I know your pride and you impunity. Who have you left the few sheep with? I know you have come to see the battle. But there was no battle. Goliath was ranting and the soldiers were shaking like leaf.
Furthermore, we see Goliath looking down on David as he ventures out to fight with him with his sling and stones. David brought Goliath down with his stone and that day he removed the reproach from the people of God. He was promoted and so was Israel as a nation.
David found favour with the King but this honeymoon was short-lived following a victory song sung by some women which cast Saul in a diminutive light. It enraged him profoundly whipping up hatred and jealousy against David. The battle lines were drawn from that day against David. And the teenager who had saved the nation, a darling of the king and l the people was now a fugitive running for his life and Saul in hot pursuit.
The bitterness, rage and vendetta continued until Saul died, killing himself in a suicide. Although David had opportunity to kill Saul a few times, David refused to touch the Lord’s anointed. In the end, in due season, promotion came from the rejection and opposition.
David 1Sam17, 42,49-51, 18L7-9, ( His brother, Eliab 1Dam 17, 28-31
Rejection of Daniel’s Friends
Because of the godliness, integrity and excellence of Daniel’s friends, some officials conspired against them, instigating the enactment of a law requiring that everyone bows to the image of gold which the king had erected. Their dedication was an offence to these foes. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego refused to bow thereby incurring the wrath of the king. They were threatened with being thrown into a fiery burning furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. They refused to bow and they were thrown into the furnace. It was so hot that even those who threw them in did not survive. But God protected these three Hebrew God-fearing men. The king was not able to sleep and when he came to the furnace he counted: 1, 2, and 3 4; 4,3,2, 1; 3, 1, 2, 4. he was flabbergasted: ‘We threw in three but I see four let loose in the fire and the fourth one is like the son of God.’
The king was so overwhelmed that when they were brought out he decreed that no one should serve any other god except the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They rejected them and their God, but now God had turned things around. The king was promoting them and their God.
What a promotion!
Daniel and FriendsDan3:2-17, 24-30; 6:1-10, 18-28
Rejection of Daniel
Daniel later faced a similar threat. He was a man who so distinguished himself that his enemies saw him as faithful, fruitful and found no fault in him. These detractors knew and testified that the only way they could entrap him was in relation the law of his God. Because of his godly life-style which challenged them they instigated the king to enact a law requiring that no one should pray to any god but the King for a period of 30days.
They knew that Daniel was a man of integrity, dedication and no compromise. Daniel prayed as usual- three times a day and his adversaries saw an occasion to entrap him. He was accused for violating the law and thrown into the lion’s den. Once again God protected him, the lions did not harm him and the king was so overwhelmed that he praised Daniel’s God.
Da:6:18: Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
Da:6:19: Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
Da:6:20: And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Da:6:21: Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
Da:6:22: My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Da:6:23: Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
Da:6:24: And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
Da:6:25: Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
Da:6:26: I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
Da:6:27: He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
Da:6:28: So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Rejection of the Church
When Saul persecuted the Church, rejecting the Christians and their belief, he was rejecting and opposing Jesus Himself as we realise when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. However the rejection, persecution and opposition worked for the good of the Church because it brought about the spreading of the Gospel to other remote regions. God has a way of turning bad things around for the good of his children. And He remains the same yesterday today and forever. So cheer up if you are suffering rejection.
Disciples Acts 8:1-4
Rejection of Paul
Later on we see Paul himself being persecuted but through the persecution he faced, he was humbled and was made extraordinarily fruitful, writing 13 bestsellers of all time. The greatest enemy of the Church was transformed into her greatest asset. Let them reject or persecute you. If you handle it well, they will be setting you up for a lift up, a come back, for promotion to the glory of God, Just remain steadfast and immovable, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of your faith. PaulActs9:22,23-27, 2Cor6:4-5,9-10,-11:23-27
Rejection of John Mark
John Mark had disappointed Paul, abandoning outreach for some personal business. Paul was outraged and did not want to have him on his team again. He rejected Mark, but Barnabas was prepared to give him a second chance. From what we know, John Mark bounced back and not only became profitable to Paul himself but also went on to write the Gospel of Mark. Rejection can work for you and I no matter where they stem from- the world, the Church or your family. God can use anything to work out His plans and purposes for our lives.
Ac:15:36: And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
Ac:15:37: And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
Ac:15:38: But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Ac:15:39: And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Ac:15:40: And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
Ac:15:41: And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
2Tm:4:11: Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry
Jews hated and rejected
The Israelites whilst in bondage in Egypt, were regarded as the scum of the earth because they were slaves. Their slave masters oppressed them greatly. But the more they were oppressed the more they grew in number because God was with them.
Whilst in exile, their enemies wanted to wipe them out. That would have been the first holocaust but God protected them, placing Esther in a strategic position as the queen who intervene just in time to prevent the massacre. Also at this time her uncle, Mordecai, who played a pivotal role in the deliverance of the Jews was hated by Haman who prepared gallows to hang him. It transpired that he was forced to honour the man he hated with passion and what more, his plan to annihilate the Jews did not only fail but he was hanged on his own gallows.
Ex1:12, Esther3: -4:7, -6:1-12, 7:10
So friend, are you rejected or opposed whilst obeying the Lord? Is the devil using people or circumstances to oppose your vision? Are Sambalath and Tobias on your heels? Have people conspired to entrap you because you are honouring the Lord and refusing to compromise, like Daniel and his friends? Stand to see your salvation! If God is for you, who can be against you? Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. God will work everything together for your good according to His word. No weapon fashioned against you will prosper. Every plan of the enemy will be foiled. Only the counsel of the Lord will stand. You will come out on top. Your enemies are working for you indirectly. God is your Refuge, your Shield , your Helper and He will fight for you.
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