Monday Motivator – May 16

Where do you feel God wants you to take a stand because of your faith?

The prophet Daniel was living in the last days of the southern kingdom. He was taken to Babylon during the 1st deportation in 605 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported a number of the royal Hebrew family, nobles and wise men to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1-5). Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were among those brought to Babylon and given new names: Daniel = Belteshazzar, Hananiah = Shadrach, Mishael = Meshach, and Azariah = Adednego.

Read Daniel 3:1-30.

In chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar erected a large image of gold – a statue 90 feet high and 9 feet wide, for whom he was named, and demanded that everyone under his rule bow down and worship him. His desire was to unify his kingdom and consolidate his authority.

The king demanded they all worship the image (swear allegiance to him). Failure to comply with the command was penalized by immediate death – by being thrown into a blazing furnace. Overwhelmed by the king’s command, the awesomeness of the image, and the sound of the music, the assembled officials, peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold. All except three guys named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Their courage in resisting Nebuchadnezzar’s order led to their being thrown into a blazing furnace, heated seven times greater than normal. Their faith was being put to the test. But as the king 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 ran to the furnace and yelled, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, come here!” Their clothes were not scorched. Their bodies were not harmed. The hair on their heads was not even singed. No smell of smoke.

You should recognize Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, because you’re just like them. Men and women of talent and ability, various ages, the brightest and the best, serving or being trained for public service and civic virtue, who hope to make their dreams come true. These Hebrew guys teach us that there are some things worth getting burned for:

First, like refusing to conform to the demands and expectations of our culture when it violates God’s Word; second, like living a life of faith and sharing your story in a very secular place; third, knowing that if you identify with the one true God, it often will get you into trouble and may cause you to suffer; fourth, realizing that your convictions will label you as servant of God; fifth, knowing we need the help of others to stand in a culture of ruthless competition for our allegiance; sixth, knowing that if you seek to do right, you may not win, and in fact may get punished, but you will never be alone. God will be with you; and seventh, knowing that God can be trusted. He will carry you through.

Serve globally. Trust God for whatever resource you need for taking a stand. Then stand firm.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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