May 18th, 2023
“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.” – Daniel 3:17-18 ERV
I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 2 and 3.
These three young men were important officials in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. The king built an altar and forced everyone to kneel and worship. If someone refused, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. These three stood before the king and refused his orders. Their rank didn’t matter. Behind them, everyone was bowing. Before them, the furnace waited.
I think they were scared. Who wouldn’t be? Imagine standing before a furnace, feeling the heat, smelling the smoke, dreading the pain, but boldly standing up for your faith. Did their voices tremble? Did they pray for deliverance, for a miracle?
They knew God could save them. God can do anything. But they also knew it was His choice. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood that even if God didn’t save them from death, that didn’t mean He abandoned them. That didn’t make Him any less sovereign or faithful or worthy of praise. That didn’t make Him any less God.
They had no idea how God would come through here; they just knew He would. No matter their earthly consequences, these young men stood firm. Despite the fiery furnace that awaited them, they obeyed.
Our culture tells us that life is short so we should live it up and do what we want. Everything around us tells us to forge our own path, do what brings us pleasure in the moment because life is too short.
Part of that is true, life is short. Our time on earth is short but living every moment to fulfill our pleasure on this earth is not the way to spend our time. Every day we have on this earth is a chance to set our minds on things above and not on things of this earth. We are called to look beyond this earth, beyond the pleasure, beyond the self-satisfaction, beyond the right here and right now. When we obey, we deny those things.
On the flip side, we are also called to look beyond the negative. When we obey, at some point we will be met with suffering. Obeying can take a mental and physical toll because it goes against our sinful nature and our world-focused culture. Some believers are met with persecution, with physical harm, even death. Obeying isn’t always easy. It’s not always popular and it doesn’t always make sense. But we do it because we have faith that the Lord will use it all for His glory. If He calls us to do something, it’s for a purpose. It’s for His purpose.
Don’t look to the right now, look to the forever. And trust that in whatever situation we’re in, God will stand in the fire with us. It may hurt. It may last way longer than we want it to. But He’s there. Our circumstances don’t define our God. Our God defines our circumstances. And resting in His goodness, we can boldly choose to follow Him wherever He leads us.
Inspirational Image of the Day