I will speak of Your decrees before kings and not be ashamed. 119.46
Shame is a powerful emotion. For many of us it can at times be utterly controlling. Whilst Christians in Britain today do not face real persecution like those in many parts of the world, it is none the less true that we can be dominated by a shame over our faith and beliefs. It is a shame which makes us constantly question if we should or even could share our faith with others or discuss how our faith impacts the many social and political controversies of the day. Even though I am a minister I could not claim to be free from these shame-chains. There have been countless times when I have second guessed myself “should I tell them what I really think?” “What would happen if I just came out and told this person that sin is sin and that it really is black and white before the Throne of God?”. Even doing prayer on the streets can turn into a real battle of shame against courage.
The Psalmist cuts through this and proclaims that even before kings he will speak of the decrees and ways of the Lord. He will not be ashamed. How challenging! If we find it hard enough to testify about truth before our friends and family or to the harmless old lady down the street how much more would we struggle to have such boldness before our governments and parliaments? Perhaps this should challenge us not just before worldly kings and governors but church leaders too. At a time when liberalism and revisionism are rampantly perverting the decrees of God and the church hierarchy for the most part either fails to act or, even worse, promotes this, should we not boldly proclaim the decrees of Christ to them?
I am reminded of the balokole of the East African Revival. These were ‘the saved ones’ whose lives had been turned upside down and inside out by the radical and transforming message of the Gospel. These men and women stood up before their seminary presidents and denounced their teaching whilst imploring them to love the decrees of God. These men and women stood up before their bishops and church elders and called on them to repent and embrace the truths of the Scriptures anew. These men and women fearlessly stood up before the local governors and even the violent president Idi Amin and called the whole nation to repentance and a mighty humbling. These balokole were fearless. I don’t think the word ‘ashamed’ even entered their vocabulary! Sadly many of them were killed by Idi Amin and others. Many of them were thrown out of their colleges and Diocese by the hard hearted and stiff necked leaders they stood up to.
Not a one of them would hold regrets over their actions though. Given the chance again they would have done the same thing over and over and over. What gave them such courage? What broke the chains of shame we are so often shackled with?
When you see Jesus as all you need, when His fame is all that matters, when His truth is sweeter than honey and richer than human wealth could conceive—when this is your faith you find no room for fear and shame. Let us pray to be like the balokole and speak of God’s decrees before the kings of this world without feeling ashamed!