What does it mean for you to stand up courageously for Jesus? Where? When? How? Why? When you make a stand for Jesus, how will you join hands with a few like-minded believers?
Read Daniel 3:24-30.
But as King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he was astonished. His soldiers had died as soon as the flames touched them. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were walking around and someone else seemed to be walking around WITH them. He said the 4th looked like a son of the gods. Who was it? An illusion? An angel? A Son of the gods? THE Son of God?
Nebuchadnezzar recognized the person as being supernatural. Verse 26 records that he ran to the furnace and yelled, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, come here!” What a testimony from the secular head of the government, huh?
Up till now, Nebuchadnezzar believed he was superior to anyone else, because his empire was the world power, he had destroyed Israel and captured the Jews and their treasures. But he could not deliver anyone alive from a furnace. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego declared, their God was able to deliver them. But the king didn’t recognize their God as his God.
By the way, did you notice how much talking Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did after getting out of the furnace? Who was doing all the talking? What was King Nebuchadnezzar declaring? The Great God who rescued his servants. Their clothes were not scorched. Their bodies were not harmed. The hair on their heads was not even singed. No smell of smoke.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted God, and Nebuchadnezzar was moved by their devotion to Him. They defied the king’s command to worship an idol. They were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own. The king decreed that the God of these young men was to be held in honor and anyone who dishonored their God would be put to death. Finally, the king then honored Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by promoting them to positions of higher honor and power in the kingdom.
These Hebrew guys teach us that there are some things worth getting burned for:
1) Refusing to conform to the demands and expectations of culture when it violates God’s Word;
2) Living a life of faith and sharing your story in a very secular place;
3) If you identify with the one true God, it often will get you into trouble and may cause you to suffer;
4) Your convictions will label you as servant of God;
5) We need the help of others to stand in a culture of ruthless competition for our allegiance;
6) If you seek to do right, you may not win, and in fact may get punished, but you will never be alone. Note that God saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, not from the fire;
7) God can be trusted. He will carry you through.
Whether or not you can see Him, how might God be with you in the heat? What authority figures in your life are you praying for to believe in Jesus? Serve globally. I hope you learn from Daniel’s friends that God will be with you in the toughest place on campus or in the marketplace.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz