THE LORD'S OWN REWARD.
Poor Joseph. He was minding his own business, working for a man named Potiphar, when the boss's wife started getting fresh. She said, "Yo, Joe, come to bed with me" (Genesis 39:7, loose translation). So what did Joseph do? He made a quick dash for the exit! Joseph did the right thing, and you know what? He ended up in prison for it!
Poor Elijah. He was minding his own business, doing his thing as a prophet of God in Israel, when God told him to summon to Mount Carmel all the people of Israel, including 850 false prophets. So what did Elijah do? He prayed and won a mighty contest against the enemies of God! Elijah did the right thing, and you know what? He had to run for his life from an angry Queen Jezebel (see 1 Kings 18:1-19:9).
Poor Daniel. He was minding his own business, praying to God three times a day in his own room, when the king decreed that for thirty days no one could pray to anyone except the king (see Daniel 6:1-18). So what did Daniel do? He prayed to God, just as he had always done. Daniel did the right thing, and you know what? He got thrown into a den of lions!
"Whoa, now!" you might say. "Are you telling me that those guys all did the right thing, and they ended up worse than before?"
"But," you might ask, "I thought right choices were supposed to protect us and provide for us." Yup.
"So how come," you might wonder, "all those bad things happened to Joseph, Elijah, and Daniel? It doesn't sound like they were better off for making right choices."
Actually, they were. But their experiences and the experiences of many people since-show that right choices aren't always rewarded. There's no guarantee that doing the right thing will bring immediate benefits; in fact, much of the time, doing the right thing doesn't seem to bring any good results at all.
When David was being chased by King Saul (1 Samuel 26), he chose to show mercy toward the king God had anointed. But sparing Saul's life made things worse for David, not better. His actions didn't promise immediate benefits, but David did the right thing anyway. And eventually God made David the king in Saul's place.
Doing the right thing may not always be rewarded immediately perhaps never. But whether it's rewarded or not, doing the right thing will please God. As David himself said, "The Lord gives his own reward for doing good" (1 Samuel 26:23).
REFLECT: Have you ever been sorry for doing the right thing? Why or why not?
PRAY: "Lord, help me to do the right thing, even when I may not be rewarded. Right now I most need your help doing the right thing in the area of..."