Spare Change - November 2023
Recently I was studying Daniel 3, the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. The heroes of this story are three Jewish young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three young men stand up to enormous religious persecution and refuse to worship the king's idol. This story inspires courageous faith in Christians. We are challenged to stand up for what we know to be right according to God’s Word in the face of worldly pressures.
This story is full of application, especially if you study a little about these three young men in Daniel Chapter 1. In these verses you will realize that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were exiles from Judah. God used Babylon to punish His people for their idolatry. In doing so they conquered Judah and exiled numerous people. As a part of this exile, the King selected many young men to come and be trained in Babylon so they could serve in his kingdom. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not the only ones taken from Judah. You have heard about Daniel, but there were others.
This is interesting because in Chapter 1 they experience their first test. They were expected to eat the king’s food. This food did not conform to the food laws that God had given His people. It would be a sin to eat this food. Of all the Jews there only Daniel and the three young men stood up for their faith. In this situation God blessed them and they succeeded in gaining favor with their captors.
Again, they are tested in Chapter 3 when they are told they must bow down to the king’s idol. Daniel is not present in this situation, presumably he is handling matters
elsewhere for the king. We know from other examples that he would not bow down to the idol. He would have stood up for his faith just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did; however, one must ask the question, “were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the only Jews present?” Doubtless there were others, but for fear of death they chose sin.
I am sure the peer pressure for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have been enormous. Just three men standing in a sea of idol worshippers. They probably felt alone and afraid. I am sure the other Jews looked at them as if they were crazy. Many of them probably rationalized their sin because all they had to do was bow down. They could bow their knees without bowing their hearts…right?!
Jesus was clear in Luke 9:26, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Denying Jesus in any form, even bodily, is still sin. What the other Jews did on that day, in the Plain of Dura in Babylon by worshiping the idol, was sin. What Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did was stand up for their faith. They are clearly the example we should be looking at in this story.
What happens when we face peer pressure to sin? Do we have the same courageous faith to look our friends, family, or coworkers in the eye and say I will not deny my God? Are you prepared to stand alone? Every Christian is called to have courageous faith even if we are threatened with persecution. The world will try to attack you in many ways. They will threaten your family, job, and personal well-being. Friends and family might ostracize you; they might even threaten you with death. What will you say in those moments? You need to decide now what you will do. Our Lord, Jesus, gave everything for us, we must be willing to stand up for Him!
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”