Herod the tetrarch had married his brother, Phillip’s wife, Herodias. John the Baptist confronted him for doing that, because according to the law, a man cannot marry his brother’s wife (Lev 18:16, 20:21). Herod arrested John and imprisoned him for speaking out against him. Needless to say Herodias bore him a grudge as well.
The opportune payback time came, when Salome, Herodias’ daughter danced at Herod’s birthday party. Herod was so impressed, he promised on oath to give her whatever she asked for, up to half of the kingdom. Herodias couldn’t have been happier; the long-awaited payback day had come. She advised Salome to ask for John’s head on a platter. She did. Herod, bound by his word, gave the order, and John was beheaded in the prison (Mt 14:1-11). Standing for the right can be costly!
How about Joseph in Egypt? He was well-built and handsome; His master’s wife took note of him and made a request he dared not consent to. He responded, “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God” (Gen 39:9b)?
For not complying after numerous requests, Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife for attempted rape (Gen 39:13-15), which landed him in jail. As we know, and often remind ourselves and others, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). So through this tragedy, God saved His people from famine and a lot more.
Does the fear of reprisal mean we are to turn a deaf ear, shut our eyes, and be tight-lipped about the wrong and evil around us? Of course not! So what should we do? We should do what both John and Joseph did; speak up, and allow God to work out the rest. Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Mt 16:24-25).
We need to pray that the Holy Spirit would lead and direct us to do and say the right things at the right time, in the right way, with the right emphasis and right attitude , to the right people, with courage; allowing the chips to fall where they may. God is always in control, and has promised to be with us, and to never leave us alone. We can trust Him, because His promises are always yes and amen in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). Amen!