“Courage to Stand” Pt 5:
Last week we spent time talking about Daniel and his “Courage to Stand” amidst adversity after being taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. There’s so much to say, but I do try to make these writings helpful, thought provoking and challenging. That said, I urge you to read the Book of Daniel. It’s only 12 chapters in length and offers inspiration and encouragement to “always do right” even in difficult times. Many people are asking questions today about the “End times.” As mentioned, Daniel and Revelation are the two most prophetic books in the Bible. Okay, let’s get on with today’s topic. I’ll return to Daniel another day, but for now, let’s gain insight from his 3 friends who encountered quite a test of their own.
Taken hostage to a foreign land as teenagers like Daniel, their Hebrew names were changed to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Babylonian names). In chapter 3 we learn King Nebuchadnezzar had constructed a mammoth golden statue or tower. This image of gold was 90′ tall and 9′ wide. A historian writer believes the statue represented Nebuchadnezzar’s patron god, Nebo. We aren’t told when this was built, but evidently some time had passed since Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army seized Judah and all of Jerusalem years before. Upon completion of the golden statue a dedication ceremony was set. Nebuchadnezzar sent word for all governors, satraps, and government officials to not only attend the ceremony, but at a designated time fall down and worship this golden image. Thrown in a fiery furnace would be the punishment for anyone that didn’t comply. The three Hebrews children are probably in their early 30’s at this time. They too were to attend the dedication celebration (Daniel was obviously not present) of which the king was so proud of.
The fanfare gets underway with lots of music. Eventually the signal everyone was waiting for is sounded and immediately the leaders of the day fell to their knees with their foreheads to the ground. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego may have been raised Babylonian amidst false gods, but they were Hebrews at heart and still worshipped the One true God. With everyone else on the ground worshipping, the three Hebrews stood alone. The king was enraged and ordered the punishment. Most of you know the outcome (if not read Daniel 3). The question is, “What can we gain from this age old event and apply to our lives today?” Here are three things I’ve learned from Chuck Swindoll.
- God is sovereign, whether the result of our obedience is triumph or tragedy. These three Hebrew men believed God was in control of their situation. It was up to Him if they survived or perished.
- Suffering is necessary, whether it seems fair or not. These men were persecuted for doing what was right. Situations like this are not fair, but can be used for our good.
- Deliverance is impressive, whether it is witnessed by other Christians or non-Christians. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego never could have impacted the king’s life so powerfully had they not been mistreated by him in the first place. Then be delivered by God. The point is – we all have been and will be tested again. When you face your next adverse experience, will you have the, “Courage to Stand?”