"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.'" Daniel 3:16-18
Today, more than ever, Christ followers are loudly and publicly proclaiming their faith in Jesus. Social media has made it so easy for us to share the Scripture, to share faith stories, and to publicly proclaim Christ as Lord. We have cool shirts, cool phone cases, blinging Christian jewelry, and catchy bumper stickers. When we are on our spiritual highs, we sing loudly into the streets. When things are going our way, we raise our hands and we raise the roofs in our churches. However, when we are in the spiritual desert places, the spiritual storms, and the spiritual prisons, we drop our hands. Our voices are silenced. We tear the catchy bumper stickers off the cars. We leave the blinging Christian jewelry on the dressers. We replace our phone cases, and we leave the cool Christian shirts hanging in the closets. That is the faith that we have cultivated in our society. It seems today, more than ever, our faith is determined on the blessings of God rather than the nature of God. In the book of Daniel, one of the most fascinating stories is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the blazing furnace. These young men were taken captive from their homes. They were taken to a foreign land and were forced to worship foreign and false gods. However, these young men were different. These young men loved and served the One, True God...the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their faith was not based on the blessings of God but rather on the nature of God. They trusted in God's plan and purpose for their lives. Even in the desert, even in the storm, even in this prison, their faith was strong! They would not bow down and worship these foreign and false gods, even if it cost them their lives. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter." They knew that God was their defender...much like Moses knew God was his defender. In Exodus 14:14, Moses told his people who were facing the mighty Egyptian forces, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego even went so far as to say to King Nebuchadnezzar, "But even if he does not (save us from the blazing furnace), we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Wow! I wonder today, do we have that kind of faith??? Do we have the kind of faith that is based on the character of God or the blessing of God? Would this story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be any less extraordinary if they had died in the furnace? I don't think so! Yes, God spared them! Yes, this miracle made an impact upon the king and these people! But if they had died in the blazing furnace, they still would have made a godly impact. Their faith in God was not based on His blessing; it was based on His nature! They knew God, they knew themselves in Him, and they knew God's plan and will for their lives. And because they knew these things, they could stand in front of the blazing furnace, feeling the heat that was turned up ten times the normal amount. They could stand before this ungodly king and these foreigners and live their faith out loud! It was that kind of faith that impacted King Nebuchadnezzar and his people. And it is that kind of faith that will impact the people that you and I live life with today! Let's be a people that live our faith in God out loud, THAT KIND OF FAITH!