Monday, June 13, 2011

FAITH WITH THE RIGHT KIND OF ATTITUDE

Daniel's friends and brothers in the faith - Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were all insulted as captors by having their names changed.  Their original names reflected their Jewish background or belief in Yahweh.  The king now called them Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - after the gods the Babylonians worshiped.  Then in chapter three of Daniel we read about a very proud King, Nebuchadnezzar, that sets up an image of himself to be worshiped whenever the musicians make a certain call on their instruments.

Whether or not the king knew he would get a certain reaction out of Daniel's friends is mere speculation.  However, the decree was made, "the astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews" for not following the decree and the three Jewish captors were escorted in to the king's presence by a summon from the king himself.

"Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  .......if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good.  But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace.  Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

And now behold, faith with attitude (in the presence of arrogance).

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O 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 save us from it, and he will rescue us from you hand, O king.  But 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." (Daniel 3:14-18)

Wow!  Who is the teachable moment for in this instance?  Daniel's three friends all knew where they stood.  It is the king that had the question(s) about the Judahite's faith and how far they would be willing to go for it.  In addition, this was just one of many opportunities God used Daniel and/or his friends to try to reach the king.  God still uses this faith with attitude to teach us many millenia later - who to stand for - God/Jesus, because He first loved us. When to stand for Him - all the time, even in the presence of a mighty king, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15).  How to stand for Him - fearlessly to the death.  Where to stand for Him - everywhere, everyone and everyplace needs to be saturated with the Gospel (Good News) about Jesus and His provision.

Ah!  To have this kind of boldness.  To have this kind of faith with the right kind of attitude.  Let it be said of me, my Lord, amen.