Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
Daniel 3: 13-18
Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
We have all heard the old phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The phrase suggests following the customs of the area in which you are residing or visiting. It’s a proverb attributed to Saint Augustine. It is said that while planning a trip from his home in Milan to the city of Rome Augustine learned Saturday was observed as a fast day in Rome. In Milan however, it was not a fast day. Augustine and his mother consulted Saint Ambrose, the ArchBishop of Milan, who said “When I am here (in Milan) I do not fast on Saturday, when in Rome I do fast on Saturday.” That reply is said to have brought about the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
We often will do this, conform to our surroundings, match our personality with the personalities we find ourselves around. Many times we do this without even realizing it. It’s not that we are trying to deceive others but people genuinely want to fit in, we have a desire to belong. It’s not necessarily a bad thing unless it leads one to compromise their morals or standards. In the book of Daniel we see three men put to the ultimate test. Will they do as the Romans do or will they hold fast to their belief and trust in God?
Earlier in the book of Daniel we see the people of Judah being punished for their disobedience to the one true God. The Babylonians took control of Judah, their land, and its people. Babylonians set out to educate the people to be Babylonian leaders that would eventually serve in their courts, train the people to forget about Jerusalem, their heritage, families and their God, adopt new ways of living, and to serve the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Some time later King Nebuchadnezzar built a golden image of himself and called on all the people to come to its dedication and worship it. Any who chose not to worship the golden image was to be thrown into the furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are the only ones that we know of that stood firm in faithfulness to God and refused to bow down to the image. We read the story today and see that though they were thrown into the furnace God protected them and the men walked out unscathed, but put yourself in their shoes for a minute. At that moment these three men had no idea the Lord would save them in the way that He did.
Most people if put in this kind of situation would bow to the request of the King in order to save their life yet in verse 17 the men tell Nebuchadnezzar they will never bow to the image, even if it means certain death. These men had such a strong faith in God that they were willing to deal with earthly consequences of following Him rather than conform to the culture that surrounded them in order to stay comfortable.
John 16:33 tells us that as believers we will have trouble in the world. The Christian life is not easy because the Lord calls us to live different in order to reflect Christ. The thing is, we have to have faith in the Lord to withstand the temptation to conform to the world. How about you? Do you stand firm for the Lord regardless of the earthly consequences or do you find yourself doing as the Romans do? Ask the Lord to give you confidence and boldness to stand firm in faith!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, help me to be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who did not give in to the temptation of the culture surrounding them but instead stood up for truth. Help me be like them that would rather be delivered into your presence through the fire than worship a false god in order to escape the fire. Lord I pray that the pressure of the world is nothing compared to my trust in who you are! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.