Taking a Stand
“But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who shall deliver you from my hands?” – Daniel 3:15
Worship is defined as “the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.” Everybody worships something. You don’t have to hang out with someone very long to figure out what they are all about. In America, we have been free to worship pretty much what we want the last couple hundred years. However, for the first time in my 39 years of remembrance, America has forces making ultimatums like Nebuchadnezzar did 2,600 years ago: “Bow down to our agenda . . . or suffer the consequences.”
At one time, I could not imagine how hard it was for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to stand while everyone else was bowing down. Soon, and very soon, I believe every person who claims to be a Christ follower will get his or her chance to know exactly how it felt. When that day comes, there will be only two choices: stand or bow. Those three boys had decided long before the trial whether or not they would stay standing when the heat got turned up. You and I must decide as well.
As of right now, not bowing down does not cost the American Christian his or her life. However, it is beginning to cost his or her livelihood. Stand up for Christ, and you just may lose your job. Stand up for Christ, and you may lose your business. Stand up for Christ and you just may lose your social standing. Stand up for Him, and you stand to lose something of worldly value to you. Stand up for Him, and you will be one of very few standing.
Maybe that is the point. I’m beginning to believe Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego considered no worldly possession as valuable. God was and still is the only thing this life offers with eternal value. People just don’t truly recognize that. Nebuchadnezzar assumed that everyone feared losing his or her life. He was wrong. There were three men who feared rejecting the first commandment of an eternal God more than rejecting a temporary king making up commands as he goes along. Therefore, they stood. While everyone else bowed down, they stood.
As the furnace of this world gets heated hotter and hotter, what will be your decision? If it really came down to losing a job or missing out on a promotion, would you stand or bow? If it really came down to losing a relationship, would you stand or bow? If it really came down to losing your popularity or your social status, would you stand or bow? If it would really cost you your life, would you stand or bow?
I can’t imagine how many people bowed that day that disagreed with Nebuchadnezzar. I’m sure they did what countless American Christians are doing right now. While bowing the knee to the gods of this world, they take comfort in the fact that they “believe” in God.
Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)