“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.””
Daniel 3:17-18 NASB
This won’t be a long post today, I just wanted to quickly talk about something I noticed this morning.
My study had me reading through Daniel to see an example of how we are called to live outside of the culture surrounding us. Daniel, along with ￼Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Much of Daniel is made up of these four living for God even when the current culture threatens them with death.
The verse above is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego telling the king that they will not bow down to his idol. What stood out for me is the part where they say, “But even if He does not [save us from a fiery death] we will not serve your gods.”
They knew God could preserve them, He had already saved them from death in Daniel chapters 1 and 2. However, they also weren’t going to test God. They knew their fate was in God’s hands and they accepted whatever He had decided for them. That’s real faith. To say hey, God can save me, but even if that’s not His plan I’ll never now down to false gods.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”
Philippians 1:21-24 NASB
Paul’s point is that whether he lives or dies, it’s all to God’s glory and of his life is glorifying God then it’s all gain to him. This is faith, to be able to say I am joyful no matter what. Just think about what early Christians went through.
“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated ( men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”
Hebrews 11:37-40 NASB
“Men of whom the world was not worthy.”
That gets me every time.
My Christian walk has been pretty luxurious. I’ve never been threatened, my life has never been I danger because of my faith. Sure I’ve lost a friend or two, but that’s nothing. Still, I struggled for a long time about being open about my faith. I didn’t want to offend anyone or make anyone feel like I’m trying to preach at them.
The saints mentions in Hebrews 11 faced death and lived their faith boldly for all to see. I face losing a few friends and I hesitate. How shameful!
I want to be like the men and women of whom the world was not worthy. I want to live my faith boldly and be able to say that no matter what God has planned for me, so long as my life glorifies God then for me it’s all joy.
That was it, that was my observation this morning. I have to stop conforming to the present culture and live within God’s revealed will.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 NASB