Zev Porat

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Stand Up Part 2: Daniel 3

In the last post I made I gave thoughts from Daniel 3 and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In, and through, that devotional we discovered a need for believers in Jesus Christ to stand up for their beliefs in the arena of public life, private affairs, and in any other situation in which one lives. Yes, making a stand for one's faith in God alone is not a popular option. Yes, making a stand for God in the public arena is a scary and daunting task at times. However, Daniel 3 gives us a real life situation in which an individual took a stand for God in the face of a godless leader and a godless nation; thus, standing for the Lord is possible. And while our areas of compromise may not involve the worship of a 9 foot gold statue, our areas of struggle are real and at times seem larger than Mount Everest. However, regardless of how large a struggle may seem we must always remember that God Almighty is still sitting on His throne and is still worthy of all the praise, glory, and honor we can give Him with our mouths and our actions.

Moreover, when all of the details of a particular situation or struggle with sin are stripped away, at the core remains a choice. One has the choice to 1) honor God and His standard of holiness or 2) pursue what is contrary to God and His holy standard. Within the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego one learns the attitude that must permeate the heart and mind of the believer in order to make the choice to honor God in any situation. Upon hearing of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's refusal to bow in worship to the gold idol, Nebuchadnezzar called the men to himself and offered them one more chance to bow in worship, but warned them that they would be burned in the furnace if they did not bow. However, the three responded by telling Nebuchadnezzar that God is able to save them from the furnace but even if their God did not save them, they still would not bow in worship (Daniel 3:17-18). Thus, Nebuchadnezzar was furious and had the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal in preparation for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The story ends with Nebuchadnezzar praising God because he noticed four men walking around in the furnace and no smell from the fire on their clothes upon the three men coming out of the furnace.

The attitude of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego recognized the fact that God is worthy of all praise and honor regardless of whether or not he physically rescues His people from earthly struggles or not. In other words, these men were determined to only worship God even if that worship brought about their physical death. Thus, our worship of God cannot be based upon what God can do for us, withhold from us, or rescue us from. Rather we honor God as the only one worthy of our worship because, among other things, He alone offers salvation through Jesus Christ. Moreover, that offer of salvation does not change based upon our current situation. Therefore, believers today must arm themselves with the same attitude present in Daniel 3:17-18. We must stand up for the things of God despite the negative repercussions that may come our way. Moreover, this decision to stand in the face of punishment is a decision one must settle now before the threat of punishment is at hand. We must understand that God Almighty has the ability to save us from destruction but saving us from persecution may not be God's will. Therefore, we must serve, honor, and worship God alone even if His plan is not to miraculously save us from suffering for our faith in Him. Again, in order to stand in the face of ungodliness, we must determine in our hearts that honoring God is of a higher priority than our very lives.

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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