Bible Reading: Daniel 3
Everything we say and do effects who we are. We are who we are because of all of the past decisions we have made. Of course, there is nothing about our past that makes us beyond the grace of God. I am speaking only to our character. Our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions all influence our character and the kind of person we are. This is one of the reasons why our faith is so important. When we are born again and made new through Jesus, our whole life is changed. What we used to be has become a new creation! Our sins are erased, but our past is not. Our story becomes our testimony of where we were before God impacted our life, and what He has done since. I am bringing this up because the world we live in constantly tempts us to compromise our faith in Jesus by doing things that are contrary to godly living.
In Daniel 3, we see three men of God being tempted to compromise their faith. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are faced with a pivotal decision: either bow down to the 90-foot golden idol, or be cast into a fiery furnace. Do they compromise their faith in God by bowing down? Or do they stand firm in their faith and refuse to bow down to any idol? We know how this story turns out, but I want to focus on their response to King Nebuchadnezzar. They are offered a way out by the king; if they bow down and worship, everything will be forgotten and good again. But if they refuse, they will be tossed into the fire. The response they make is one of great faith and courage in their God. They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
They believe with all their heart that God can deliver them from the fiery furnace. The next part is what blows me away. Even if God chooses not to save them from death, they will never worship an idol instead of God. They do not doubt God when they say this, but make the point that they will never compromise their faith, even in such a terrifying position. This is the kind of faith we need today! A faith that when tempted to compromise our faith in Jesus says, “we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” There are many idols the world tempts us with: money, cars, clothes, homes, fame, popularity, just to name a few. We are expected to compromise our faith in Jesus by “playing the games” of this world, but we must resist this temptation. Daniel 3 reminds us of the importance of standing firm in our faith, and resist all the compromises that threaten us.
We serve a great, powerful, gracious, loving God. Our God has saved us from sin, and death itself. He is worthy of our devotion and loyalty. We must daily remember that God has given us a new life, and that this new life came at a price. Jesus laid down His life so that we could become children of God. Christians, lets renew our focus by clinging to our Savior. May we stand firm in faith, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and may we refuse to bow to any other gods. Let us be a people who pray for our faith to be strengthened, and look up to the One who gives us strength.
Call to Action: Daniel 3 is a good reminder that we face the same struggles, even though they look different now. We may not be tempted to bow down to a 90-foot statue, but we are tempted to bow down to the corporate ladder and our smart phones. Set your hearts and your minds to seek God. Make prayer a part of your daily life, and a part of your family. Consider taking time every night to read a passage of the Bible, teach your children about it, and pray together. Look for ways to strengthen your faith, and the faith of your family.
by Rev. Larkin Sumerlin