|SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to Him than in your offering the fat of rams to Him. For rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols” —1 Sam. 15:22-23|
We all love to be accepted by our peers and by society. However, if we do not take care it is these very people who would lead us down the paths of destruction through numerous compromises. In contrast to Saul’s behaviour, Daniel in the Old Testament stands out as someone who resolved to stand by his principles come what may. God rewarded Daniel with great wisdom and spiritual insight, favour with kings and emperors, prophetic utterances, a glimpse into the plans of God and eternal life.
Sticking to his principles did not always make life easy for Daniel but eventually he always came out top because God honoured his obedience. In Daniel 1:8 for example, Daniel resolves not to eat the food served from the king’s table even though to many that privilege in itself should have been enough to compromise on the Jewish principle of not eating certain types of meat (pigs and all meat sacrificed to idols). I can well imagine the troubles he would have had from some of his peers. They would have called him names and even accused him of “over-worshipping” God. He however stuck to his guns and in return, he reaped the following:
• the guard who was supervising them, liked him enough to give him (and the 3 others what they asked for – vegetables and water – Daniel 1:12;
• God made him look healthier than those who were eating the “choice” food from the king’s table – Daniel 1:15;
• God gave him high intellectual and spiritual knowledge – Daniel 1:17;
• he was selected into the king’s high service and was found to be ten times better in every matter of wisdom and understanding than all the magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom – Daniel 1:20.
Daniel made enemies by doing a good job and not compromising his principles. Perhaps you are going through a similar situation. At home, at work, even in the church, you are catching flak for being “too rigid.” If being rigid means you are refusing to join the crowd in doing wrong even when it has become the norm, then praise God for your “lonely’ life. Remember that whenever you stand for what is true and right, people will look for ways to hold you back and tear you down. They will cheer at your slightest downfall and even hasten it. They will try to wear you down with “emotional blackmail”. However, if you conduct your life above reproach, like Daniel you will have nothing to hide and your enemies will have a difficult time finding legitimate charges against you. Of course, you can rely on God to vindicate you by protecting you even from the “jaws of the lions.”