I can’t get these words out of my head. I keep coming back to them day after day. I have to. Where else will I turn as the world constantly threatens to shake my confidence in God?
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me first set the stage. King Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of Babylon. Exercising his kingly authority, Nebuchadnezzar had a gigantic statue fashioned and erected in Babylon, commanding everyone to bow down and worship the image at the sound of conspicuous music. Everyone had to bow down and worship immediately. That was the rule and it was clear. One last detail – failure to comply with the king’s command would result in death by fire.
Sounds like a situation I’m glad to have missed. A couple Jewish boys who were actually pretty prominent in Babylon, however, were present and knew the rule. When they refused to obey the king’s command since it would go against their allegiance to God, they were turned in. Understandably furious, Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with the blazing furnace and mocked their God.
Their response? “We don’t need to defend ourselves before you because we know God is able to save us from the fire and rescue us from your hand.” Sounds good, but that's not all. They continue with the words I can’t seem to forget: “But even if He does not, we will not serve your gods or worship your image.”
The quote is ascribed to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but I assume the three of them were not speaking in unison (but who knows!). Maybe one of them was the spokesman. Can you imagine standing beside him as he expresses confidence in God’s power? You’re nodding in agreement until he utters those six words. But even if He does not? What are you saying? He better save us! We’re standing up to the king, here!
Six little words make a huge difference and demonstrate not only the boys’ faith in God’s power, but also their understanding of God’s character and sovereignty: God is able to save us, but our confidence in Him and obedience to Him are not based on whether or not He comes through like we believe He can (and maybe even think He should).
Let’s trust in God’s power to come through like we know He can; but even if He does not express His power like we think or hope He will, let’s not let allow our circumstances to shake our resolve to live in confident obedience.
Written by Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry
"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11