Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What does the Bible say about Loyalty?

I was recently reading about the story of Jonathan and David. Their friendship was really remarkable. But what really stood out to me was the loyalty of Jonathan to David. Then I thought of the loyalty of Ruth to Naomi and that started a whole line of thinking on this subject of loyalty. In the world we live in today we really don't see a lot of loyalty, loyalty in marriages, in friendships in business, or even in the church. I looked up the word loyalty in the dictionary, it means "unswerving in allegiance as 1) faithful allegiance to one’s sovereign or government, 2) faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due, 3) faithful to a cause, ideal or custom." Synonyms are: faithful, allegiance, devotion, dedication, constant, unwavering, steady, unfailing.

Notice that the definition implies that what you are loyal to should be deserving of your loyalty. Think of the people, organizations, teams, causes, etc. to which you are (or have been) loyal. Which ones are deserving of your loyalty? Which ones are not?

What does the Bible have to say about loyalty and being loyal? 

Proverbs 21:21 in the NASV says, "He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor. " In the NIV loyalty is translated as "love." There's another translation of this same passage that describes it as "faithful love." 

Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Here we can learn that loyalty is unwavering in good times and bad. In Matthew Matthew 26:33-35 Peter said that even if all were made to stumble he would stay loyal, but in Matthew 26:69-75 we see that Peter denied the Lord and scattered just like the rest. So here we learn that loyalty is what you do, not what you say. Psalm 78:8 teaches us that loyalty is in your heart. It is willing and not reluctant. "And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set it heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God." 

We learn from Exodus 17:8-13 loyalty can be demanding when Moses was loyal to Joshua who was fighting the battle down in the valley. Moses kept his arms stretched out praying for him. And when Moses was tired Aaron and Hur were loyal to him holding his arms up, while Joshua was loyal to God and to his people fighting the battle! 2 Chronicles 11:13-16 shows us that lloyalty may involve sacrifice when the priests and Levites left all they had to follow Rehoboam. 

We are reminded in Psalm 84:10-11 that loyalty to the Lord will be rewarded, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." 

In the Old Testament we read of disloyalty being punished. Because Edom deserted Israel in its time of need, "I will bring you plummeting down," said the Lord (Obadiah 1:4-14). 

When a person is loyal in their business they are promoted to greater positions of usefulness. They have proven themselves in one area and are given another area of responsibility. Jesus said, "You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things..." (Mtt. 25:23). The message to Smyrna was "...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Re.2:10 

Does your life bear the mark of loyalty? If you are a Christian, it should! We should be loyal to our family, our church, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Where does your loyalty lie?

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