2009-11-11 - Faith Determined
But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Daniel 3:18
But even, is part of the refusal by Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego (S, M and A), when they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzars idol. We probably all know the story well. Neb. had set up an image and required everyone to bow down to it when the music played. These three (S, M, & A) would not bow down. Neb. threatened them with being put in a furnace if they would not give in, and they respond in Daniel 3:16-18 that they will not deny the Living God, even if it costs them their lives. This is faith in action. This is something that should give us pause, reflection, and self-examination. These men determined that they would not, lives on the line, so much as tip their hat and deny God. They had high-ranking government positions, families they had much to lose. They would lose it all before they would lose their faith. By their faithfulness, they ended up gaining all. Let us consider just two lessons here.
Their loyalty was to Gods Word, and it did not depend upon Gods deliverance. It is the 2nd commandment they were being asked to violate. They were told there, and we are told there, not to make an idol, or any likeness, you shall not worship them or serve them, Exodus 20:4, 5. Here was a test for them. They were in a foreign land. They were not in Jerusalem. All the other Jews, who were in the captivity with them, we may assume, were doing it. But, Everybodys doing it, did not mean they would. They would not deny God, or themselves, by denying Gods perfect standard. They would rather give up their lives than do so, and while they were delivered miraculously, we see nowhere that such deliverance was promised. They hoped for deliverance (Dan 3:17). But it was not promised. The responsibility of the follower of Christ is seen here: We are to be faithful, and not worry about the consequences.
Secondly, they resolved that they would serve God at all costs. It seemed to them, and all, that their service would cost them their lives and there are many who will say that you cannot expect anyone to follow God, Gods Law, Gods Word, their Christian commitments, to the point that it might cost them, or does cost them, their lives. That, they would say, is too much to expect. Does not such a mindset forget the One who loved us to the point that He was willing to die for us? If Christ so loved us, we ought not to count ourselves, or our lives, to be worth more than our Saviors. S, M, & A understood this long ago. Their faith was one that could not be compromised, because to do so would be to deny the God they severed Who gave them life.
S, M, & A all serve as an example to us today. We need such resolve in the Christian church. We have no warrant to ever deny Gods Word and perfect standard for our lives. We can make no excuses that justify straying from His perfect norm for our conduct. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to give us such a faith this day. It is rare these days to see consecration to Christ, and we need more of it desperately. May the Lord raise up some S, M, & As unto His glory.
Soli Deo Gloria,