S211P6 – Lessons from captivity: this is no popularity contest

Exo. 5:19-21

The Hebrew foremen saw that they were in a bad situation because they were told, “You must not reduce [in the least] your daily quota of bricks.” When they left Pharaoh’s presence, the foremen met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. And the foremen said to them, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you, because you have made us odious (something hated) in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and you have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

Their church had faced an unknown opposition for some time.  The type of vandalism that occurred at the property seemed to indicate that they were no longer wanted in that neighborhood.  In search of direction, the elders joined their pastor in prayer.  After some time, the pastor felt that God was directing the church to reach out to that neighborhood personally to each household.  He saw a vision of this act of love producing fruit in those people’s hearts. Almost immediately after starting this weekly outreach, the vandalism increased.  The pastor explained his vision and encouraged the church to continue with this plan, but the flock had lost faith in his vision at the first hurdle. They did not trust that what he saw and heard was of God, and he was left to reach those neighbors on his own.

God promises us many things when we give our lives to him, but popularity is not one of them. Yes, we gain favor with him. Yes, He might give us favor among men in order to accomplish his plan and purpose. However, we must accept the fact that many times we will not have that favor. This might even be the case among the Church. Even within the brethren, the right decision will not always be the popular decision. God could call you to speak a necessary truth to someone in love, and that person could take offense and walk the other way. God might call you to lead his Church in a certain direction that is necessarily painful or difficult, and that might make you look a certain way in their eyes.  The only question we must ask ourselves is whether we have been discerning and obedient to God.

Agreeing to follow the Lord means understanding that there will be times when we find ourselves standing alone among men.  We might expect this to happen only when we are among the world, but it very well may happen within the Church herself.  Sometimes we can see this coming beforehand, and that could make it even more difficult to obey God’s instruction. We only need remember the purpose behind what we are doing and why we follow God to begin with.  We must be willing to obey his will even if that means we do so alone.  Father, give us the humility and selflessness to follow You wherever You lead us regardless of what others might think or how it affects our standing among them.