Dmitri determined to educate his sons from the Bible at a time when Russia was dominated by communism. Soon neighbors began joining the family Bible study which grew to about 75 people crammed into his little house and standing outside in hearing range. Angry at his refusal to stop teaching the Bible, an officer and soldiers pushed inside during a time of fellowship and arrested him. As the authorities were leaving, a small grandmother waved a finger at the officer and declared, “You have laid hands on a man of God and you will NOT survive.” Two nights later that officer died of a heart attack. The fear of God so filled that community that 150 people joined the next time of teaching. Meanwhile Dmitri was sent to jail.
In prison a 1000 kilometers from home, every morning Dmitri stood at his bed, faced the east, raised his arms to God in praise, and sang his song to Jesus. The other prisoners laughed, cursed, jeered and banged metal cups against the metal bars in protest. Sometimes they threw food and human waste at him attempting to shut him up. Near the end of his 17 years in prison Dmitri nearly broke after a severe beating and the threat of execution. However, God miraculously intervened to show Dmitri His love. (You can read what happened in The Insanity of God). On the last day as he left prison, 1500 hardened convicts stood at their beds, faced east and sang Dmitri’s song. Dmitri said it sounded like the greatest choir in history.
Acts 5:18-21—So they arrested the apostles and put them in the city jail. But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple complex and tell the people all about this life.” In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach.
The Greek word, stathentes is translated “stand” and means stand firm, hold your ground. This is what the apostles did after they were arrested. Later in Acts 16:25 we read about Paul and Silas after being rod-beaten and thrown in jail, singing hymns to God. They too refused to let persecution silence their witness.
Do you realize the privilege we have in standing firm? God’s concern is that we share the liberating news of Jesus who came to earth to rescue sinners. We who are rescued have the sweetest notes of praise—we know what it means to be liberated from the cruel jaws of death and a sentence of eternal separation from God. Has this same God who filled Dmitri’s lungs with praise given you a heart song? If so, His intent is for those around you to hear it. Are you singing?
[Rushworth M.] Kidder divides moral courage into three components. First, we must believe in and commit to a core set of moral values and principles. Second, we must recognize that by standing up for those principles we are likely to face danger . . . Third, to be morally courageous we must be willing to endure that danger and do what we know to be right, even if it means loss, disapproval or shame.—Steven M. Southwick & Dennis S. Charney in Resilience
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Nik Ripken in The Insanity of God, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN ©2013