“This third angel said in a loud voice: ‘It will be bad for the person who worships the beast and his idol and gets the beast’s mark on the forehead or on the hand’” (Revelation 14:9, ICB).
HIDING ON THE SABBATH
Eleven people gathered on a hidden riverbank in southern Europe. During that time in this country, Seventh-day Adventists were threatened with violence. A mob heard about the baptism and attacked the newly baptized members. Sadly, a mother of two children was killed by the mob.
The woman’s two children were 10-year-old Alex and his 8-year-old sister, Marie. Some of their relatives found the children a foster home.
After breakfast on the first Sabbath in their new home Alex and Marie went out and hid in a large pile of hay to study their Sabbath School lesson and read from the Bible. When they came back, the man of the house gave Alex and Marie a beating.
The following Sabbath they spent the day in some nearby woods. And once again, when they returned, the foster father beat them.
The third Sabbath the foster parents stopped the two children as they headed toward the woods. But just as the man was striking Alex and Marie, some neighbors arrived. Later they reported to the authorities what they’d seen. The foster parents were arrested.
When it came time for the foster parents to be punished, the judge said harshly, “You shall be beaten just as you have beaten these children!”
Suddenly Alex stood and said, “Please, judge, do not have them beaten. It is true that he has beaten both me and my sister because we kept the Sabbath. But it hurts to be beaten. We know. The New Testament tells us to love our enemies and pray for them.”
The judge’s heart was softened. He did not have the foster parents beaten, but they did have to sign a promise that they would never again bother the children about their faith.
Soon afterward, the foster father accepted Bible studies from some of the local Adventists, and
he was baptized. Nobody was happier about his changed life than Alex and Marie.*
THINK ABOUT IT
■ How does the thought of being punished for your beliefs make you feel?
■ Can you think of some Bible stories in which people were punished for their beliefs?
TODAY’S PRAYER IDEA
Thank God for the many examples we have of people honoring your beliefs no matter the cost. Ask Him for the courage to do the same.
* Adapted from Barbara Westphal, “Don’t Flog Him, Please,” Guide, September 1, 1965.