I’m reading through the book of Daniel a chapter at a time, reflecting on Babylon and how Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego not only lived, but were seen as successful in a society that was anything but Godly. Today, Daniel 3:16-18 gave me the directions on how I should live in this world that has become so separated from God’s ways.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.””
Daniel 3:16-18 NIV
How should I behave? Today, I’m looking at what these verse say I should do:
- I do not need to defend my beliefs.
- If that means I will be punished, then so be it.
- My God is able to deliver me from the punishment.
- But even if God does not deliver me from the punishment, I will still praise Him.
- I will not praise the gods of the world, or their images!
Note that the three Hebrew men acknowledged the ruler of the country and were respectful. They used his title in an honorable way. (I think we could learn from this in our politics.)
When I read the Law and the Gospel, it is apparent that many of Gods ways are broken in this world. But yet my call is for me to be accountable to God and to follow His ways in my life. I am not called to judge or condemn, but to follow as an example, so that God may show His Power and Glory through my life. It is not easy to be obedient. The pressures of the day, the list of things to do, the news of even more atrocities, and the flaunting of sin, make it easy for me to think about others and not about me being accountable to God for my sins.
Jesus died on the cross for my sins. When I accepted Him as my Savior, I knew all the sins and mistakes of my past were forgiven and cleansed. But every day I fall short. Every day I need to stay accountable to my Savior. Every day I need to be forgiven and cleansed. When I forget this, it is easy to judge others.
I confess that I fall too easily into condemning sin in others and too reluctant to see my own sin. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not spend time telling Nebuchadnezzar all the things he was doing wrong. They stood on their beliefs and were not ashamed. They trusted and were obedient to God.
Sometimes, we as Christians, are too quick to point out sin and shortcomings. We judge, we condemn, we do anything but love. How can the lost be saved if we yell in their face and call out their sins? Do they see the love of Jesus in that behavior?
Judgements and division, hatred and anger, are driving emotions to become a god. We sacrifice to the altar of a god that demands a fuel of emotions that are negative.
We should be the voice of calm, of love and acceptance, to the world. We should be willing to be obedient, but not expect others who do not know God to be obedient to His laws.
Psalm 73:28 tells me what I must do:
- “But for me it is good to be near God;
- I have made the Lord God my refuge,
- that I may tell of all your works.”