“Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord.” Ez 14:14
Who does God consider righteous? Here in Ezekiel He names three men as those who are most righteous. God essentially says, “Even if the most righteous men who ever lived, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in this place, I would still destroy everyone except these men.”
What distinguished the righteousness of these three men? It is interesting that they span the Bible. Noah is in Genesis, and Daniel was from the time of the captivity.
Noah lived at a time when, “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Yet Noah did not live that way. He was not an Israelite, one of God’s chosen people. No one had been chosen yet. But he knew God. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” He wasn’t just a good person. He chose to do good because he acknowledged God.
Others of the time must have had the same opportunity to know God. But only Noah walked with Him. Only Noah chose good. The others allowed their minds to run rampant. They didn’t even attempt to follow their conscience. Their thoughts and their desires became their god.
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” How unusual this must have been at a time when everyone else was about self indulgence. Noah obeyed God. Noah believed God. Noah chose to do right. And Noah chose to thank and honor God. As soon as they came out of the ark, Noah gave an offering to the Lord.
Job had a similar character. “He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job also chose to do what was right because he acknowledged God. And he remembered God, and gave offerings to Him as well. “Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them.” He lived a life where the first thing he did was remember God, and how important it was to be right with Him. There was no room in his life for self indulgence.
Finally, I am running out of time, but I want to list a couple of verses that describe Daniel. “But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king.” “He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help.”
So what did these three men have in common? What was it about them that made God name them as the most righteous men?
1. They had an sober reverence for God.
2. They chose to do right because of their fear of God.
3. They were not self indulgent.
4. They were humble and knew they needed God’s blessing and help.
5. They remembered to thank God
6. They were not swayed by others around them. They served God no matter what anyone else did.
7. They were not swayed by events. They believed God and kept their integrity no matter how much things went wrong around them.
This is a challenge for all of us! The words of the New Testament reinforce the importance of having these same character qualities. Jesus was like this. Noah, Job and Daniel call us higher, to be true to the highest standards of conduct and heart.