“This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language. As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” (Daniel 3:4-6, NIV).
When I mention the words “blazing furnace,” what image comes to mind? Is it daunting enough to for you to bow in submission? The image of the blazing furnace burning in the minds of everyone who attended the dedication of the gold idol would be enough to make everyone bow down. It wasn’t enough of a scare tactic for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their response to their not bowing is epic:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, o king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, o king, that we will not serve your gods or the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NIV)
Their response so maddened the king that he ordered that the furnace be turned up seven times hotter. The people who were binding Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell into the fiery furnace. Traveling through the passage, you see that they were thrown into the furnace, and three men became four. Pulled out of the fire, they were neither burned nor smelled like smoke. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that everyone serve God. (verses 19-30).
I see this scene a lot like our faith in God and faith in His Word. There are many idols created, and the enemy is telling us to bow or be thrown in. It’s a scare tactic to get us to conform to the ways of this world, rather than continue to stand on God’s Word.
In this last season in my walk with The Lord, I cannot count the times that I have felt the flames of the fiery furnace or heard “just give up! He’s not going to come through.” I cannot count the times where I have wanted to bow and give in, and quit standing. The bruises on my knees tell the stories of my pleadings with God.
This season has been one of testing and trying, of counting the cost of following Christ, and deciding “is this really worth it?” The response of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in saying “even if he doesn’t, we still won’t bow,” spoke so convictingly to me. That’s where I want to be. I know that God will always come through, but even if He doesn’t come through in the way that I want Him too, I will not give up in serving Him.
And I see you. I see your struggle. I see your desire to choose right. I see your desire to serve Him well and give Him glory. I see your questions, your doubts, your fears.
And as I sit here, I hear The Lord asking me: “If you could tell them anything, what would you tell them?”
- I would tell you to look up. Look up and not down. Looking down limits your vision. Looking up, you’re to see for miles.
- I would tell you that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same God who provided for you in your time of need, the same God who met you where you were at, the same God who pulled you out of the pit–is the same God who will do it again. (Hebrews 13:8)
- I would tell you that conforming to the standards of this world gives you nothing but FOMO. It does nothing but create emptiness.
- I would tell you that this life in Christ Jesus is worth it. Standing on His promises, speaking His word, walking in obedience to Him…it’s all worth it. Even when the world says it’s not.
- I would tell you that even on the hard days, even with the bruised knees and hurting heart, God is still the most ravishing and breathtaking Creator you’ve ever seen.
- I would tell you to keep standing. No matter how bad your knees want to buckle, DECLARE with all of your might that it is by the GRACE of God that you are standing, and it is FOR His glory that you will continue to stand.
- I would tell you to dare to trust Him with everything. Your hurts, your fears, your questions. He can handle it. In fact, He tells us to give our concerns and worries to Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
- I would tell you to record all the ways He’s come through for you already. There’s nothing too “small.” Every step is a victory.
Because when you choose to stand your ground, you come out not even smelling of smoke.