There are times in life when a matter of principle is at stake. You have to decide; will I stand, or will I kneel?
Standing up for our principles requires us to muster our courage and set aside our fear of retribution or disapproval. It requires that we stand up for what is right against what is wrong even when it is not convenient—especially when it is not convenient!
Joshua and Caleb stood up for their principles against the majority when they encouraged the Israelites to believe God’s promise and to push on into the Promised Land (Numbers 14).
Elijah courageously stood up for his principles against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18). Elijah stood alone against 850 men but secured victory because of his faith in God’s promise.
Daniel refused to obey the law forbidding worship of any entity other than the king (Daniel 3). Daniel stood up for his principles. He continued to openly worship God despite knowing it could cost him his life.
Peter and John preached about Jesus and were jailed by the Temple leaders (Acts 4). They stood up for their principles. Refusing to be silenced, they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
Mordecai, the Principled Patriot
Mordecai is another example of a man who stood up for his principles. His story is usually overshadowed by the story of Esther, his adopted daughter, and cousin.
Mordecai was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin living in Suza under the rule of King Xerxes. Xerxes was the most powerful man in the world at that time. Mordecai had probably achieved a position of rank in the Persian court because he was allowed to sit at the King’s Gate (Esther 2:21). Mordecai overheard a plot to assassinate Xerxes. He was able to warn the King by passing a message through Queen Esther.
After this, Xerxes appointed a man named Haman to a high position in the royal court and ordered that everyone must bow down to Haman. Haman was an Amalekite.
The Amalekites had stood against the nation of Israel during their exodus from Egypt. God had cursed the Amalekites and told Moses that He would utterly blot them out. Years later (1 Samuel 5), God ordered Saul to wipe out the Amalekites but Saul spared the Amalekite king and for that, Saul, who was also a Benjamite, lost his kingship.
There had been enmity between the Amalekites and the Israelites for hundreds of years. Mordecai viewed Haman as a representative of the nation who had stood against and opposed God’s people so he refused to bow down and pay honor to a man of the people whom God had cursed.
Mordecai stood up for his principles knowing it might cost him his life if word got back to Haman or Xerxes. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Haman was told of Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him and he hatched his plot to destroy all the Jews living throughout the empire.
We know the end of the story. Queen Esther, Mordecai’s cousin, set a trap for Haman with King Xerxes. Haman fell for the trap. Xerxes discovered Haman’s treachery and Xerxes had Haman hanged on the very gallows Haman had just built where he had planned to hang Mordecai.
God had miraculously protected the entire nation of Israel through the wisdom of Queen Esther, and Mordecai who refused to bow down to a man opposed to God’s people.
God honored Joshua and Caleb. God gave the victory to Elijah. God protected Daniel. God saved Peter and John. And God saved Mordecai. Each one stood up for their principles to honor God and His commands.
As leaders today, do we honor God by standing up for our principles in every sphere of our lives? Do we stand against those who stand against God and His principles, or do we acquiesce and kneel to popular opinion?
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are there times when you have had to take a stand, perhaps against popular opinion, to maintain your principles?
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Category: Personal Development | Values