WEEK 10: Love knows no fear
Daniel 3 (AMP)
Because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew and loved God, they refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. Indeed, in the face of death threats, these three servants of God did not back down. Even when they were given a second chance to pardon themselves from their offense, they stood fast in their faith in God.
Take note, though, that they had no guarantee that they wouldn’t be burnt to death in the fiery furnace. Let’s look at their answer to king Nebuchadnezzar (vs 17-18): “If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand … but if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!” What stands out for me, are the words “if” and “will.” They didn’t simply say “our God will deliver us.” Their faith wasn’t in God’s deliverance, but in Him. Even if God didn’t deliver them, they would still honour God with their faith in Him. They made this clear to the king by saying, “if not [if God doesn’t deliver us], let it be known that we will not serve your gods…” Wow, these guys’ faith was sorted – they knew where they stood in relation to God! They were ready to die for God’s glory. This is clear in their words, “let it be known.” They were out to make a statement for God Almighty!
I don’t know if you or I will ever be faced with threats of any kind for our faith in Jesus Christ. What I do know, though, is that the world will always try and persuade us to renounce our faith. What is in it for you and me if we stand firm in our faith? Paul’s words in Phil 1: 21 (AMP) come to mind… “to die is gain.” Gain for me? No! God’s Kingdom shall gain, in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar honoured God when he saw what happened with the three men after being thrown into the fiery furnace. He was completely astonished that they didn’t burn to death. Verse 26: “…you servants of the Most High God, come out and come here.” What a proclamation by a man who, several minutes earlier, knew only his own grandeur! He even went further and said (in vs 28): “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him!” God was on a roll though and didn’t stop there at glorifying His name through His servants’ obedience. King Nebuchadnezzar even made a decree (vs 29) that, “any people, nation and language that speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shall be cut into pieces and their houses be made a dunghill, for there is no other God who can deliver in this way!”
From reading this passage and writing this devotion, I realise this: our faith in God goes a long way, even if we pay with our lives for it. Figuratively speaking, the buck doesn’t stop with me (or you). In fact, God is alive on earth in our faith, and our faith on earth guarantees life with God forever!
Love God. Keep faith. Fear not!