And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. – Dan. 11:32 KJV
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Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles in Babylon (Dan. 1:1-21), who was to later become the favourite amongst the three administrators appointed by King Darius of Babylon to oversee the affairs of the land, was taken through several spiritual journeys which detailed events that were to happen in the future. Commencing from the seventh chapter of the biblical book that was named after him through to the twelfth chapter, he had several dreams and visions most of which were detailing the events of the last days. Unfortunately, most of the revelations were done using illustrations that seemed to surpass the knowledge of the Daniel himself, and this must have been a deliberate act of the Almighty God, as he had on previous occasions honoured him (Daniel) by availing him exclusively with understanding of the true interpretation of dreams of the king, but on this occasion, he rejected Daniel’s request for interpretation of the dreams and visions.
Based on his previous experiences with regards to dreams and their interpretation, he must have concluded in his mind that all he needed to do was to ask God for their interpretation but that was not to be the case on these occasions as he was told to just go his way because the understanding of the revelation has been sealed for a period of time – Dan. 12:4; 8-13.
Although the interpretation of those revelations were not given to Daniel at the time, some basic comments in the course of the revelation remain relevant and evergreen, either on a cautionary note or an appropriate knowledge that should guide the Christian in his/her daily operations. One of such is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion.
Although that scripture was in reference to the part of the dream that was shown to Daniel at the time, its contents reveal two life possibilities that the Christian may need to be aware of.
1. Flattering is a tool that can be used to corrupt and deceive anyone, especially those who are violating the Covenants of the Almighty God.
2. The tool to prevent flattery or to counter acts of flattery is to know the Almighty God which gives the ability to resist all such deception and consequently be able to do great things or as the Bible puts it, exploits.
These two points as revealed in this scripture definitely provide huge information for the Christian today who plans to achieve great things in life.
Flattery, which means excessive and insincere praise of someone in order to deceive such a person, so that the one that is flattering will achieve some personal, gains, remains a major tool of destruction with men, that can be deployed against someone especially the one that has broken the Covenant of the Almighty God. Though it is aimed at achieving personal gains by the one who is flattering, it has succeeded in bringing down many great people especially those who love to be credited and praised for all positive events, whether they are involved in its occurrence or not. In the process they unconsciously find themselves taking the glory that belongs to God and find themselves in confrontation with Him, a situation they will only come out from with shame, disgrace and possibly spiritual or physical death.
The people of Tyre and Sidon gave the flattery treatment to Herod who had been placed in a position to be their source of feeding. He had a disagreement with them over an issue that the Bible did not reveal but was sufficient for him to cut off their food supply, so when they heard that he was in Caesarea, they quicky arranged to meet with him and seek for forgiveness. On the appointed day, they did show up and gave him what he desired which was flattery, except that the Almighty God did not allow him to enjoy the insincere praise for too long, as an angel struck him down, he was eaten up by worms and he died. Whoever wants to succeed in life must be very much aware of the pit that flattery is and avoid it as much as possible, especially its deployment as a consequence of breaking the Covenant of the Almighty God.
This the scripture says can be achieved by knowing the Almighty God thereby avoiding any confrontation with Him. If they know God, then they will know that He, it is that provides all things and therefore it is to Him that all glory belongs. They will know that He is willing to share everything including the love He has for His son Jesus Christ with men, but will never share His glory with anyone – Isa. 42:8 They will also know that all praise by men for man, no matter how much it seems true and right, must be returned to God sincerely as it could even be a punishment from the Almighty God for a broken Covenant by such a person. It comes as praise but it remains a path to destruction.
No one who plans to succeed in life should get into this trap of flattery, either as the voluntary act of men or a punishment tool of the Almighty God. The Christian who avoids it successfully, the scripture says, will do exploits. The New International Version of the Bible uses the phrase, “they will firmly resist him”. The word “him” in the phrase was referring to the great power that was referenced in that particular vision of Daniel. It will indeed be exploits when an ordinary human being successful resists a Bible acknowledged powerful force like that, simply because he/she knows his/her God. It is however not a surprising development, after all young David did exploits with one stone and a catapult, to bring down the mighty Goliath – 1Sam. 17:1-58. That happened because he knew his god. No mountain becomes too high to climb neither is any river to wide to cross for the one that truly knows not just any god but the Almighty God.
Do you presently hear comments that project you as the Alpha and Omega being made or implied about you? Please take out time to ensure that these are not flatteries by men whose only desire is to use it as a tool to secure an advantage with you or worse still a tool by the Almighty God to destroy you for not acknowledging Him as God. Even if all these possibilities are eliminated and the best of intention behind such praises is established, it is still expedient all such praises are completely returned to the Lord without holding back as all glory belongs to Him. It is good for people to appreciate you for what God has used you to achieve in one way or the other but you must also learn to return all that praise and appreciation to the Lord so that their praise may not be the trap that will destroy you. Like Paul and Barnabas stoutly rejected being referenced as gods by the people in Lystra (Acts 14:8-17), reject any praise that tends to compare you with the Almighty God as that is definitely flattery. You are simply not God and will never be God. Do not even wait until you are called god, reject it as early as when all the treatments and recognition begin to exceed that, that should be accorded men. That is the only way you will not cross the path of God and get bruised or even killed. May God help us to avoid flattery in all its forms in Jesus name. Amen.