I love reading the book of Daniel & seeing, not only the miracles God performed, but the strength of faith demonstrated by Daniel & his friends.
In today's chapter, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego are told to worship the image or die. In our human nature, it would have been easy to just obey this order to save their lives. They could have come up with a number of rationalizations for this – we will fall down, but not actually worship – we will do it this once & ask for God’s forgiveness – we’re not hurting anybody – if we get ourselves killed, who will help our people.
Some of these “excuses” touch a little close to home. How easy it is to justify our actions rather than follow the “letter of the law” when we are uncomfortable with what we know God would have us do. Or maybe, we don’t know how things can possibly work out if we don't bend the rules a little.
At first, some of these excuses almost sound rational. However, to have worshipped the image, it would have erased their testimony for God forever. Never again would they have been able to talk about the power of God above all other gods.
What excuses do we have for not standing up for God?
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, & 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.
I find so much strength in those words: “but even if he does not.” I know God can, but if he chooses not to, I will worship him alone.
Oh, how I pray for that kind of confident faith. I know my God can, but regardless of the outcome, I will follow him.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands & knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice & righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
I want to know God & have confidence in him like Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego did. To have the kind of faith it takes to face the fiery furnace knowing that God is in control. To boast in him & his righteousness.