REFLECT: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God: Romans 12:2
APPLY: Do not be conformed to the ways of the world – instead have the courage to go against the flow. Be different: let God’s ways – not the world around you -be your sure guide. Have the courage and the independence to take a firm stand to live a godly life.
The Lord had been leading Israel in an immediate and direct way through prophets and judges. This was a feature that differentiated Israel from all other nations, including the dread in which they were held by those other nations, because of their seeming invincibility. Yet Israel wanted to be like those other nations: as Samuel grew old, they devalued and rejected their unique privilege. They insisted they wanted to be led by a king: not by a judge or prophet. They would not listen when they were warned a King – and his descendants – would treat them badly (1 Samuel 8: 4-5, 7, 9-11, 18-20) . The Lord granted their demand: judges of old ceased, and the office of prophet become that of the King’s advisor rather than the nation’s leader.
These kings – more often than not – disregarded God’s leading, and they oppressed the people. From this time, Israel suffered defeats in battle hitherto that were unheard off (1 Samuel 4:1-3). The kings of Israel – bar a very few exceptions – played a direct role in leading the people astray. In fact, they led them so far astray, that the nation – king and people – were ultimately thrust from the Lord’s presence into exile.
There is an adage that says there is safety in numbers, which is one reason why being one of the herd sometimes seems inviting. In this context, however, being one of the herd and taking care to not rock the boat (e.g.by maintaining the status quo) will lead down a dark and dangerous road. Even though it is discomforting and lonely to stand out from the herd, in this case, it is the only way to go!
PRAY: Father, I want to go Your way, regardless of what culture, society or the crowd says. I need Your help and support to take this stand. Imbue me with Your discernment and courage that I may dance to my own tune as composed by You. In Jesus Name, Amen.