We’ve all heard the story of Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. I think it behooves today’s church to examine their attitudes a bit.
In Daniel 3, a giant golden idol was set up, and a huge crowd of people was assembled. And a commandment went forth, that at the sound of the music, whoever didn’t bow down to this idol would be cast into the furnace.
Now think about it. The three heroes of the story knew that an idol was simply a hunk of metal. They knew that they were “spiritual”, and that the idol couldn’t hurt them. To save themselves a lot of trouble, when the music played all they had to do was simply to bend down and TIE THEIR SHOES!
What would YOU have done? Most of us like to think we’d spit in the King’s face, so to speak, but your character is defined by what you do when you’re NOT UNDER PRESSURE! What do you do NOW – TODAY? Let’s take a few common examples;
When someone wants you to work on Saturday, do you say “No, I’m busy that day – sorry”? If you do, you just “Tied your shoes”.
When you’re at a friend’s house, and he serves pork, what do you say? Do you say “Sorry, but pork is unclean – God says we can’t eat it”, or do you take the easy way out and say something like “I don’t eat pork for health reasons”? Oh I know, both are true – from a certain point of view – but is that enough to make God happy?
The point is, Daniel’s three friends didn’t HAVE to keep standing up – they could have found a good justification (at least, as good as YOU have most of the time) for not making waves – but if they’d done that, God wouldn’t have saved them from a fiery furnace now would He?
But they didn’t do that. They couldn’t do that; because in so doing, they’d be denying Christ! And what did He say about that?
Luke 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
Most of the great men in the Bible COULD have chosen an easier way out. Another good example, this time by Daniel himself; a decree had been made that if anyone petitioned another god or man besides King Cyrus, he would be cast into a den of lions. Now all Daniel had to do was to go into his closet and “not make an issue out of it”…
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Daniel KNEW about it and made a point of praying before an open window! Would you do the same thing, knowing your life is on the line? Again, I’m sure you’d like to think so, but do your actions NOW show that?
When you get a Christmas present from a co-worker or a relative who isn’t in the church do you…
A. Take the gift and keep it
B. Take the gift and give it to charity
C. Take the gift and throw it away
D. Find some clever way to avoid the issue entirely or
E. Say “I’m sorry, but Christmas is pagan and God says we shouldn’t keep it… so I can’t take your present”. You can even offer them a booklet if they’re curious. WHO KNOWS – maybe God will use YOUR EXAMPLE to CALL THIS PERSON?? How DARE you deny them that chance, and that witness!!
Four of these answers involve tying your shoes. Only one doesn’t deny Christ on some level. If you have trouble accepting the apparent jump between taking a Christmas gift, and denying Christ, let’s look at another example;
Matthew 26:34-35 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Matthew 26:69-74 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest…And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man…And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
He didn’t want be known as a disciple of Christ because HE FEARED. Feared for his life. When you avoid telling someone you don’t keep Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day, Halloween – and telling them WHY – YOU ARE DENYING CHRIST.
You “Don’t want to make waves”. You fear losing your job, a friend, a loved one. You are ASHAMED to be a follower of Christ – you don’t want people to think of you as strange, and different.
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Dwell on this thought; If you will deny Christ in good times, rather than possibly offend a friend, you’ll betray your own mother when your life hangs in the balance!
It’s time you stopped tying your shoes, stopped denying Christ, and started spreading the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM of GOD everywhere you go, and every chance you get!