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This week's verses are from one of the greatest stories of faith in all of God's Word. I wonder sometimes if I would be able to say these same things in the face of difficulty and trial.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "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 worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Link up below!
It's been a bit of a busy week/weekend for me. I have been thinking a lot sbout these verses, and my thoughts keep coming back to some "stuff" I've already written on this subject. So, I'm going to share two of them.
First is a story I originally wrote over a year ago for the writing challenge. It is not Biblical fiction, but this character (who still haunts me a bit, by the way) is living the life of Daniel 3:16-18. Check out "The Pain of Gain," and let me know what you think.
Also, back in August of last year, I wrote a devotional on this very story. I'm sharing it here.
Each year, I read through the entire Bible, and I just finished the book of Daniel. In the early parts of this amazing book, I foun, once again, one of the most incredible statements of faith in God in the Bible—in my opinion, anyway.
Let me set the scene. Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, are in the service of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He has recently built a 50-foot statue, and demanded that every one of his subject bow down and worship it. These three men of God, high up in Nebuchadnezzar’s organization, refuse to worship anyone but their Lord.
The king approaches the three men and gives them one more chance to obey: "If you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Daniel 3:15 NIV
Now, if I had been one of those men, I'm fairly certain my panic alarm would have gone off at maximum volume. Doubts, anxiety, and fear would have dominated my thoughts. I might have even bowed (with my body) just to save my life (admit it--you might have considered it too!).
But not these guys.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "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 worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18 NIVNow that, my friends, is faith. These men knew He could save them, but were willing to pay the ultimate price even if He chose not to do what they wanted. That is faith no matter the circumstances--faith despite circumstances.
There are many around the world who are faced with the same dilemma as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: men and women who risk their lives, families, finances, possessions and everything else every day just to share the Gospel, or to live it out. The persecuted church is huge, yet it is the fastest growing part of the body of Christ. These people are willing to look their oppressors in the face and say "but even if He does not." And in some cases, He does not. But they still say it.
That is the kind of faith I want.
Heavenly Father, I pray for all those who are suffering for their faith, for those who risk death daily because of their love for You. Give them the strength to say, and life "but even if He does not" each day. Strengthen them, and hold them close to You.
And Lord, I pray that you would give me that kind of faith. Help me to trust You enough to live for You no matter what the consequences. Make me an "but even if He does not" Christian.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up below, and check out other folks' thoughts on these verses.