Everyone’s doing it. Well, everyone else may be doing it, but you have a choice to make. Are you going to do it? Maybe it’s going to church or seeing the latest Marvel movie or shacking up. Good or bad, you’ve got a choice to make, and just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that you should. Examine it. Pray about it. Ask does it bring God glory?
Three men in the Bible were presented with a choice. Everyone else was doing it, so were they going to do it. Everyone else was listening to the band play, and everyone else was bowing down to a huge statue, an idol. Everyone else felt that they had no choice because non-bowers would be thrown into a furnace of fire to be burned alive. Everyone else valued their lives more than their worship preferences, but these three men valued worshipping their God more than their lives. In fact, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to cower and proclaimed emphatically that they would not bow to the king’s idol. They were thrown into the furnace which killed the guards who had that hot job. Then the king saw not three but four men walking around in the fire. The king called the men out, and the three came out unbound and without a hint of smoke. He commended them and their God and rewarded the three. These three men stood for the Lord even when they didn’t know where that would lead them.
If you were to visit South Africa’s Krueger National Park, you’d get to see many native African animals, one of which is the impala. It’s a deer-like animal often shown by the Discovery Channel as dinner for lions and leopards. “The impala can actually jump a height of over 10 feet and leap distances of more than 30 feet. Yet zoos often keep their impalas in enclosures with walls no more than three feet high.” That sounds crazy until you understand the mind of the impala. These great leapers will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.
Jumping wasn’t an option for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they faced the choice of bowing before the idol or standing tall for God. However, these three men chose to stand for God even though they didn’t know where they would land. Maybe God would deliver. Maybe God would allow them to burn. Regardless of the consequences, regardless of where they landed, they chose to leap in faith and stand for God that day and not bow to the king’s demands.
Today, we have a choice as well: Give in to the demands of the wicked world or stand for God and His righteousness. I pray that you and I will not bow but will stand in the evil day, and after the smoke blows away, we will still be standing.
Here’s a little more application for you if you want it. Let me give you three points to take home from this biblical and historical account of the fiery furnace.
Sometimes we’re tempted to place something before God. Don’t do it.
- Some people know what God thinks about a matter and are tempted to rethink it. They’re tempted to value their fear, family, business, belief, comfort, culture, sin, or friends more than they value God. People can rationalize any sin or situation into being OK or even promoted. If you’re tempted to place something before God, just don’t do it.
We must choose to be faithful to God regardless of the consequences.
- These three guys chose to be bold when they were the only ones standing for righteousness. They chose to put their lives on the line for the honor of the Lord. Be bold in your stand. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were so bold. Other than Jesus, can you find any stand for the Lord quite so bold as these three young men? They were standing against the supreme ruler of the world. Life and death were in his hands, and they spoke unapologetically to the king. Be full of faith in God. Ungodly people will sometimes become hateful due to your stand for God and righteousness.
Your faithfulness must not hinge on the possible consequences.
- You may be delivered like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or you may burn. You may be destroyed financially due to your faithfulness to the Lord. You may be destroyed physically due to your faithfulness to the Lord. You may be destroyed socially due to your faithfulness to the Lord. However, your faithfulness must not hinge on the possible consequences.
This week you’ll read…
2 Chronicles 35-36: “But the Lord, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of His messengers, sending them time and time again, for He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against His people that there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Psalms 119-120: “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Psalms 119 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Daniel 1-12: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.’” (Daniel 3 in The Message Bible).
Habakkuk 1-3: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Zephaniah 1-3: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2 in The Christian Standard Bible).
1 Peter 5: “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5 in The Christian Standard Bible).
2 Peter 1-3: “Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3 in The Christian Standard Bible).
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CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.