Today I’m reading in Daniel. It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible. In it we meet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – three men who lived like they believed God – even if it potentially cost them their lives. Their king demanded for all of his subjects to bow to a gold statue that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide to show him their loyalty – or else be burned in a furnace. Talk about peer pressure! These brave three essentially said – “No chance, king. We only bow to our God.” So when they stood while society bowed, King Full-of-Himself said they’d better bow, or face the fire, then dared to ask “…and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”
He’s about to find out. Read with me.
Daniel 3:16 says:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king.”
“But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
(Daniel 3:1, 16-18 HCSB)
I’ve read this story many times, but the wonderful thing that came alive to me tonight is this:
But even if He does not rescue us… we will not serve your gods… .”
Now that’s some kind of faith.
I don’t know what you’re facing, but I know it always goes better for me when I align my life with God and focus solely on Him.
I didn’t say it is easier.
I said it always goes better for me.
I’ve bowed to alcoholism, promiscuity, bitterness, self-pity, deceit, anger, and pride more times than old King Nebuchadnezzar had subjects.
But ever since God rescued me from myself and gave me a brand new start, my whole life changed.
You see, the things I bowed to (listed above) were actually not idols at all, but thresholds to the furnace.
Last year, when I thought I might lose someone important to me, I decided not to self-medicate and instead trust God – even if that meant facing the fire. And face the fire I did. Let’s see how it worked in the Bible story.
“And these three men fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.
King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said … “Didn’t we throw three men…into the fire? ” “Yes, …” they replied. He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God — come out! ” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:24-27 HCSB
Last year the outcome for me was like these three. When I placed my trust in God and refused to bow to anyone or anything else – I still faced the fire, but I wasn’t burned by it. In fact, I felt the presence of God throughout the whole ordeal. It only served to increase my faith and that of others. My loved one is doing great – and so am I.
This week I’m facing a potential new monsterous idol I’m expected to bow down to. It is the threat of a scary disease. I could bow to self-pity, depression, anxiety, or fear, but I’m choosing to stand in its presence instead of bow.
I will stand with my heart lifted and say,
“God is able to heal me, but even if He does not rescue me, I want you to know that I will not serve any other gods or worship anything that could potentially take His place.”
I encourage you to read the end of this story for yourself and see how it ends for the old king.
I’ll tell you how my story from last year ended – in victory.
You can read my story here.
So what’ll it be?
Bow to an idol at the demand of society, or stand in the fire with the Almighty God?