I recently heard a story about a bee hive.
Because a family believed a honey bee hive in their backyard to be a nuisance and possible danger to their children, they called a local beekeeper to come move it to a new location.
Because some of the worker bees were out doing what worker bees do — working — they were not in the hive when it was removed and were left behind, hive and queen bee-less. For days these left-behind bees buzzed around the now empty spot in the tree . . . until, one by one, they died.
If you’ve ever observed or studied about honey bees, it is undeniable that they are loyal little creatures. Their primary responsibility in life is to serve their queen. Even if that loyalty means ultimately dying for or because of her.
In a day and age where people often speak of being brand-loyal or loyal to their favorite sports team, I wonder if we really understand what loyalty actually means.
If you’re unsure about what it means to do a word study, or why I do them, take a peek back at A is for Attentive. I explain more there.
Today’s word for study is LOYAL.
Key Word Definitions:
Faithful: firmly adhering to duty; constant in the performance of duties or services; true
Superior: above; more elevated in place; higher or greater in excellence
Duty: that which a person owes to another; obedience; submission
Treacherous: violating allegiance or faith pledged
Loyal Defined in My Own Words:
To be loyal is to pledge to be faithful and true to those whom we elevate above ourselves, those we are to be obedient and/or submissive to, and to those who are pledged to be faithful to us.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations . . . (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3)
When I was looking through Scripture for verses to share about loyalty — I happened upon the one above – Proverbs 3:3. I looked through several translations and wanted to share with you the different words used for loyalty and faithfulness:
love and faithfulness
steadfast love and faithfulness
loyalty and kindness
kindness and truth
mercy and truth
gracious love and truth
peace, favor and truth
lovingkindness and truth
I’m not a Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination. At best, I attempt to read a few translations of verses that are unclear to me in ESV (my usual go-to) and pray for God to reveal His Truth to me.
But there is no escaping that loyalty is tied to these traits – love, faithfulness, and truth.
Loyalty is not something to take lightly. We are to be loyal to each other because loyalty is tied to God’s commandment for us to to love. God set the example of loyalty to us by pledging His love to all who love Him, and by calling us into fellowship with Jesus. Talk about ultimate loyalty — Jesus did indeed demonstrate it completely when He went to the cross. Is He deserving of less from us in return?
I was also struck by the words in Proverbs 3 to “write them on the tablet of your heart” (in regards to faithfulness and loyalty). Anytime I read anywhere in the Bible the instruction to write something on the tablet of my heart, I am compelled to stop and pay very close attention. God does not use the image of writing things on tablets lightly (think 10 Commandments). This loyalty thing is important y’all.
I had an idea to look at a few other words — antonyms of loyal. This is what I found at Thesaurus.com:
Those are some strong words. And I started thinking — in what ways, as wretched sinners, do we demonstrate the opposite of being loyal?
Gossip, not holding confidences, not keeping our promises, not always demonstrating faith, being fearful.
And then two more verses immediately came to mind:
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:37)
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
I have a challenge for you. Let’s stop using words like love and loyal and faithful for stuff. These are words God uses to bind us unto himself and each other. And let’s start letting our “yes be yes” — meaning doing what we say we’ll do.
Like the honey bee who seemingly has no thought for himself, only looking toward the queen, let us keep our eyes only looking toward the King.
The decision is one we all must make . . .
Who or what are we willing to swarm around for our entire lives . . . and be willing to die for? Hunt’s Tomato Sauce? The Denver Broncos?