they declared to king nebuchadnezzar, “o king, live forever! you, o king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. there are certain jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of babylon: shadrach, meshach, and abednego. these men, o king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” [daniel 3:9-12]
when you refuse to serve the god of this world, the world will condemn you.
we see here such malicious intent from men who hated these jews, their position of authority, and their God. we see these men in their jealousy, set a trap for their destruction. we see them playing a sort of teacher’s pet as they tattle to the king, their scheme going according to plan. they want these three jews dead.
we live in a country where we have so much freedom to worship God and live for him. we praise him for this freedom. but we are still asked, pressured, and sometimes commanded by the world to serve the god of this world. to bow to the schemes of the devil. to crumble under the weight of social pressures. we are mocked and scorned, just like our Lord, because we stand for what he stands for. his glorious name.
this should not come as a surprise to us. many times Jesus told his followers what they would face in the days ahead, the cost of following him. all throughout the epistles, believers all over the world were encouraged to endure, to continue in the faith, in the midst of trial and persecution. we, too, are called to endure! but what do we cling to in trial and tribulation?
who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? as it is written, “for your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. for i am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [romans 8:35-39]
when we are faced with trial, when we are commanded or pressured to bow to the god of this world, we remember the love of Jesus. he gave up his throne and glory to come and die. [phil 2:6] himself a sheep to be slaughtered, he opened not his mouth. [isa 53:7] being reviled, he did not revile in return. [1 pet 2:23] never once did he give in to temptation. never once did he give in to his flesh. [heb 4:15] his love for the Father and his love for you and me took him all the way to the cross. and because this love can never be taken away from us, this love is what will cause us to stand firm. to live out this love in a way that doesn’t waiver on the truth, doesn’t get tossed to and fro by false teaching or worldly thinking, no matter the cost.
so where do you tend to waiver? how are you tempted to compromise with the world? where is the Lord asking you to take a stand, to do or say what is right, clinging to his love for you, emboldened by his power in you? ask him today. confess any worldly thinking you have bent to or perhaps are clinging to. ask him to show you his better way.
make me to know your ways, o Lord;
teach me your paths.
lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you i wait all the day long. [psalm 25:4-5]
~ arwen eastman