- Rodney Lee Mills
Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
How many times have you hoped for something and it did not come to pass? What was your response? If you were praying for God to come through, what was your attitude towards Him? We are human so it’s natural to feel down and out when we don’t get something we hoped for. Its even harder to take when that thing hoped for was something like an extended life for a loved one or something like much needed financial support for your family. So, what kind of faith are we called to have in times like this? Let us go to Daniel Chapter 3 and read about three men who had faith no matter the result. This unshakeable faith eventually turned an enemy who sought to kill them to praise their God.
In the Bible in the book of Daniel chapter 3, we learn of three Jewish men named Shadrach Meshach and Abednego who were appointed to high offices in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. During this time, the king created a 90-foot-tall statue of himself and he put out a decree that when the music played, all people were required to bow down and worship the statue. If you are familiar with the story, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down and were brought before the king to be punished. When they refused to comply with Nebuchadnezzar’s decree, the fiery furnace was turned up and Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the fire. To the amazement of Nebuchadnezzar, the men did not die and as a matter of fact, they were seen unbound walking around in the fire with a fourth man who looked like a “god.” Nebuchadnezzar called the men out of the fire and noticed that not a hair was singed and they didn’t even smell like smoke. To this, Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and went on to place them in an even higher position in the province of Babylon in which they served.
So, what lessons can we take away from this story? Let’s take a look.
Living in a Lost World
Shadrach Meshach and Abednego lived in a place that was ruled by a king who conquered many lands and when he did, he still allowed them to worship their gods. This place of many gods also robbed the people of their riches and freedoms which sought to force them into idol worship of the king. Despite it all, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego lived in the land and would not compromise their faith despite the possible threats to their safety.
As Christians, we are going to live and work in places that do not know or what to believe in the salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are called to not compromise our faith and instead, stay true to our beliefs while operating in a lost world. As we saw in the story, staying true to our faith can turn even our enemies towards God.
No Need of a Defense
In Daniel 3:16-18 it says, “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."
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego displayed a faith we should all emulate. Notice that they firmly stated that God still is God whether they lived or died. We often try to reason with people when things we have prayed do not come to pass. There is no need of a defense for these matters. Our continued faith is testimony enough regardless of the outcome. God has not changed. When faced with challengers of an unanswered prayer, let your continued faith be your testimony so that they may be turned back towards God.
He is With You
In Daniel 3:24-25 it says, “Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, Your Majesty." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
No matter what you are going through, Jesus will be with you. Whether in life or death, know that God is with you and loves you. Your current circumstances are not bigger than Him. When you are with Him, know that you can walk through the fire, unbound, and in fellowship with Him.
Your Faith Can Save Others
In Daniel 3:28-29 it says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."
Like in the story, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s faith made even the man who sought to kill them praise God. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we are all called to make ourselves available to God, be obedient to God’s Word, and have faith in Him. When we do these things, we will be amazed at how God can use us. So, whether with family, friends, or co-workers, allow your unshakeable faith to be a testimony of your relationship with God so that they may be drawn towards Him.
Faith Is Always Rewarded
In Daniel 3:30 it says, “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
Faith will always be rewarded whether in this world or in the afterlife. Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” So, whether our faith is rewarded through promotion like in the story or through our rewards laid up in Heaven, know that your faith will not go unnoticed and will always be rewarded.
Our faith will continue to be tested. Even if it isn’t a life-or-death situation for you, it may be an eternal life or death sentence for those watching your faith play out. Always be mindful of this as your faith plays out before others. God has not and will not change. He is who He is regardless of what we are going through and the results. As Christians, we are all called to have an unshakeable faith that will refine us to be more like Jesus. When we have that unshakeable faith, not only will we and those around us be encouraged, our enemies will even praise God because of our faithfulness.