The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, May 4, 2022 comes to us from Joseph Adeoye of Kwara, Nigeria
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. Daniel 1:1-15 NIV
Sitting in a hall with my fellow university classmates. I waited in tense silence for the French test to be distributed. This was my final language exam, and I needed to pass. But when the test was handed out, I couldn’t make sense of it. I noticed my classmates cheating and was tempted to join then, thinking, Cheat now and repent later. God is merciful, right? You don’t want to risk failing.
We’ve all experienced situations like this. Like Eve, we feel tempted by fruit that would compromise the life God wants us to have. The key to standing our ground against temptation is to know our convictions and commit to them in our hearts. Daniel modeled this when he resolved to keep the diet laid out in the Jewish law and avoid foods provided by the king of Babylon. God honored and rewarded his commitment. When we know that our faith requires and commit to it, we can fight temptation – even if that means failing and retaking a French test like I did.
Temptation is always around us. Do we really need that extra item in our grocery cart? Do we really need to speed down the highway on the way to that appointment? Certainly, there are more serious ways to be tempted away from God’s will for our lives. Joseph Adeoye reminds us that God’s way is always better for us. I invite you to consider which temptations threaten to draw you away from God’s direction for your life. How can you resist them?
Dear Lord, teach us the truth of your word. Empower us to live in ways that glorify you. Amen.
Students preparing for Exams
Thought for the Day:
I will commit to God’s way, knowing that it is always better.
If sinners entice you, do not consent.
Proverbs 1:10 NRSV