Courage to stand up
What are you passionate about? What do you love? Most of us would say a sweetheart, a spouse, family, friends. Some may say they are passionate about a favorite sports team. Some might say they are passionate about a hobby or career or leisure. Some may say they love to shop!
There is nothing wrong with any of those things. They are good, especially the relationships! But for Believers, nothing matters more than our love and devotion to God. That heartfelt, complete devotion to Him is best reflected in worship. In fact, God commands we worship Him before anything else in life! 3 “You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3. Is it possible that we could find ourselves worshiping something “before” God? To be clear, God would not be happy with that for He is a "jealous God.” (Exodus 20:4)
In Daniel 3, there are three young Israelite men with interesting names, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who would not allow anything or anyone to come before their worship of the one true God. A prideful king demanded they worship his image, and if not, he would have them incinerated in a fiery, white hot furnace. They courageously refused to bow! Even though everyone around them bowed to worship this king’s image, these men would not… they had the courage to stand up! (Daniel 3:16-18)
The king had them bound and thrown into a furnace, but amazingly God protected them - not a hair on their head was singed; they didn’t even smell like smoke when they emerged from the furnace, completely unscathed! (Daniel 3:26-27). There are plenty of distractions in life that can take our focus and devotion from God, including our “sufferings.” These men were fully devoted to God, unwilling to worship anything before Him, despite the pressures they faced.
What do we learn from these courageous men? (Daniel 3)
1) Our faith gives us courage to stand up!
(Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego) trusted in Him… Daniel 3:28b. Will you trust God, no matter what… no matter the pressures you face, no matter the sufferings you endure, no matter the fires you walk through? Will you have the courage to stand up for Him, believing that He will never let you down?
2) God alone deserves our worship.
(They) were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Daniel 3:28c. Is there anything in your life that has your heart’s devotion over Him or besides Him?
3) God may deliver us, or not, but our hope is in Him!
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3b-4. God is always at work… shaping our testimony, building our endurance, shaping our character in Christ. Will you trust Him, no matter what, knowing that your hope is ultimately, not in this world, but in Him!
4) As Christ-Followers, we are never alone!
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not alone in that fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:25) The great news for Christ-Followers is that we will never be alone in any fire we face in this world! Jesus promised… "I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
For much more, listen to Courage Part 7: Courage to Stand Up!