“Courage to Stand” Pt 6:
You’ve heard the phrase, “Be comfortable in your own skin.” This has nothing to do with color, but self – confidence. So, are you “Comfortable in your own skin?” I believe our comfort level coincides with our faith and who or what we believe in. A person’s faith is only as strong as the basis of that faith. Some people are dependent upon the decisions made by our government. Others may feel safe as long as we have a strong military, of course security for some is their bank accounts, and maybe there are some who have everything all figured out and their comfort is their personal control over things. The problem with any and all of these things (and there are more), is what happens when we no longer have control? The government becomes a liability rather than an asset and it doesn’t matter how much money we have because it won’t fix what’s broken.
Adversity is a part of life. We’ve faced it in some measure before and we’ll face it again and again. Do you have faith? What’s the basis of your faith? How strong is that which you believe in? Can anything happen to or destroy it? Having “Courage to Stand” may require us to stand up, speak up and/or do something responsible. Last Friday I wrote about the courage of the three Hebrews that had been captured as young teenagers and removed from Jerusalem to Babylon. They, like Daniel, had their names changed, and were taught Babylonian culture and lifestyle. They were being trained so they might one day work in the kings’ court (Read Daniel 1 – 3). The three Hebrews were Daniel’s closest friends, but time had passed since their capture and they are now working for the king (Daniel 3) as adults. We love to tell the story about how they refused to kneel before the golden 90′ statue Nebuchadnezzar had built. In a life threatening situation these men had the “Courage to Stand” and make a wise choice because they truly believed the God they served would take care of them. If not, they’d die serving Him.
YES, we know the results. The furnace was turned up seven times more than normal and was so hot the soldiers taking Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to it died from the heat when they opened the door. The Bible informs us the three men fell into the furnace (3:22,23). We know that part well – but here’s what we must remember. These three Hebrews were “Comfortable in their own skin” because they had a faith in One that cannot change, is unshakable, is always under control and always had their best interest at heart. We’re told the king was furious because they did not bow before the golden structure. They didn’t bow before this false god because it would denounce their faith and belief in the God of the Bible. The king asked, “Didn’t you understand what will happen to you if you don’t bow and worship the golden image?” One of the men spoke up stating, “We do, but the God we serve will deliver us and 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” (3:16-24). Wow! That’s faith in the One to Whom you have believed!!
The intense heat of this furnace did not harm any of these men and they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them. Please understand, this is more than a bedtime story for your kids. It’s an event that God allowed to happen. Could the Lord had done something different to spare these men? Of course – He’s God and can do anything. But the lesson teaches us to be strong and courageous. It builds our faith to the point that even if God doesn’t do what we want or expect, He’ll never leave us and He’ll always act in response to what is best for us. You may be feeling the heat from something today – ask yourself Who or what do you believe in. The God who protected the Hebrew men is the same God watching over you. You can trust Him, but there will be days you’ll be called upon to have “Courage to Stand!” These men did and their story will never grow old. Your story is still being written.