We have all heard the story of Daniel and the lion’s den, and how his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to deny their God and were willing to suffer the consequences for their stand. They were not willing to acquiesce to the decrees of a secular authority that forced them to choose between obeying God and obeying man. They would have had to choose between kneeling to a man-made idol and kneeling before their God. These are not choices that are easy to make when one’s life is on the line. But it is an easy decision to make when the person understands who the Giver of life is, and it is not any one man or government, it is the God who sits on His throne in Heaven.
This kind of faith truly shows itself when one is faced with nothing. What I mean is when all that a person knows is taken away, no family, no heritage, no land, no earthly possessions, and all that they have left is their life, faith in the Maker of all things is the only preservation of life left. Faith in man is misplaced faith. Man is nearly incapable of impartial and objective decisions, and those decisions that are objective are 100% influenced by God as it suits His purpose. In the U.S., we lack the passion to have this kind of faith. We have a lot of material wealth available to us, even those who are considered poor seem to be able to purchase a cell phone, flat screen TV and cable service to go with it. The majority of us are not in danger of going without food for more than a day. We are not persecuted for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and we are imprisoned because we defy the government and worship our God.
Daniel and his friends were taken from their home by the Babylonian Empire. The nation of Israel was being punished by God for their disobedience and worshiping of other gods and giving to the other gods what was rightfully God’s. But Daniel and his friends determined that they would honor their God by not defiling their persons while in captivity. They knew whom they would serve and had placed their faith in the God who would preserve them. They were willing to thrown into the fiery furnace or into the den of starved lions, not caring if God chose to save them because they had placed faith totally in Him and were willing to die for that faith. Read the response from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
That kind of committed faith is severely lacking in our culture. It may be evident in individual cases and sometimes in a church, but on a whole, we have more faith in our wallets and bank accounts, and more concern for our self-preservation, than we do in our God and for the things that concern Him.