“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
I can only imagine the heart pumping horror of being caught in the situation that three young men found themselves as vividly described in the book of Daniel in the Bible. They had probably been raised as royalty in their home country of Judea. Carried away into captivity, the men had faced the king’s servants as underdogs and prisoners. Yet, they had won the approval of their captors and had been given positions of honor and responsibility in the kingdom of Babylon.
Then the unthinkable happened. The king erected some kind of super-skinny statue that the entire kingdom was to worship and bow before. Up to this point, the young men had been allowed to worship their God with impunity. But this was a day of decision and their decision was to neither hide nor bow to worship.
We know the end of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abedngo. They were thrown into a fiery furnace which had been stoked to an unbelievably high temperature. However, the Lord joined them in the fire and their lives were spared.
These men would not compromise even when it meant that they would die. They were willing to be killed while taking a stand for God. In Egypt today, men and women have been massacred because they chose to stand up for God, knowing but putting aside the risk.
I’m impressed by these young Jewish men who stood up to one of the most powerful kingdoms ever known to men. Even more impressive is that they didn’t do a lot of talking. They were willing to merely stand.
They were standing up when they could have been bowing.
As the Chinese Christians and the Coptic Christians in Egypt have found, there will be a time for each of us to stand for God. Is there a way to measure the strength these modern-day martyrs exhibit as they move through the streets of Egypt, knowing what their fate will be? Yet they are willing to give their lives for their faith.
How will we stand for the Lord? Will there be a time that we must go on the defensive, exposing our lives to the fate of men who desire to destroy our faith? It may not happen in our lifetime; but each day we must make decisions to stand for the Lord. Here are three simple actions that each of us can take daily that will impact the lives of others, as we stand for our faith.
First, we don‘t have to say anything, simply refuse to join in the sin that surrounds us each day. Is it gossip or cutting corners at work? Perhaps it’s deliberately speeding or running red lights. The Internet has become an escape for many people, ignoring values for a cheap momentary thrill. I can refuse to join. Simple but powerful.
Second, I can be firm when people ask me about my relationship with the Lord. Without slipping and sliding, I can tell people the truths I’ve learned from the scriptures revealing how to live for Christ.
The third thing is perhaps the most powerful. I can tell others the truth about what God has done for me. In clear but a simple way, what the Lord has done for me is the most dynamic word I can speak. No one can take from me or distract from my personal testimony describing what Jesus has done for me and what Christ means to me.
I can’t imagine the horror of the three men as they stepped into that furnace of fire. However, I also cannot imagine the strength that God gave to them to stand up for him no matter what happened. As I pray for the persecuted Christians around the world, I’m praying that God will give them the strength of Shadrach, Meshach and Adednego. I’m praying that there will be angels that will surround them protecting them and loving them through the struggles.