I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan’s throne.
But you continue boldly in my Name;
you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst…
But why do you indulge that Balaam crowd?
Revelation 2: 13–14 (The Message)
The church in Pergamum was surrounded by temples to Roman gods, and they boldly lived out their faith amidst the other religions around. In today’s world there are many things to distract from the church, from faith. There are so many false gods that people worship in different ways; how many of us focus more on God than on the many distractions in the world? That is what the Christians in Pergamum were praised for.
Their rebuke was for indulging “that Balaam crowd”. Balaam counselled King Balak into leading Israel down the wrong path. How often do we compromise the Truth to make it more appealing? How often do we water down the message, taking out the uncomfortable bits or the bits we don’t want to agree with? Of course, there are various interpretations of scripture, but I think maybe this letter is warning of something else: a deliberate changing or watering down of the Truth that leads others astray.
A favourite modern song of mine which reminds me to seek the Truth is ‘The voice of Truth’ by Casting Crowns, which tells of the challenges of faith that come from our world and encourages us, instead of falling to them, to listen to the voice of Truth and the story that Truth tells.
The Way, the Truth and the Life
We thank you for your Truth
For Jesus and the Truth he came to share with us
For the honest truth and the uncomfortable truth
Help us to discern the voice of Truth in a world full of voices
A world rife with fake news and false truths
God of Truth
Help us to share your Truth with all we meet