This past Sunday, my church Pastor: Carlton, spoke from Daniel during his message entitled: EVEN IF GOD DOESN’T. This powerful message spoke to me the entire service. I personally love reading and studying the book of Daniel because of all of the truth and faith testing situations that arise for the people in it.
It’s hard for people to understand why God does things sometimes. Why He allows things to happen, why He doesn’t let us in on His plan sometimes, why He doesn’t step in when we think He should.
It takes CONFIDENCE to believe in God’s plan when circumstances don’t change. Daniels friends: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood this. If you remember, their story involves crazy laws, golden statues, and a fiery furnace. They were commanded by their king to bow down to a golden statue (a false god) when the horns sounded. Has anyone ever commanded you to do something this outrageous?
Their faith was being tested; would they bow down? They would be killed if they didn’t. What would it hurt to bow down? Their parents weren’t there to tell them what to do. They were in a strange land- they should just try to survive right? Who would notice anyway if they bowed down? Everyone else was doing it.
As extreme as this situation seems, these events happen in our own lives so it is important to learn from them.
So what did they decide to do? They STOOD their ground. Literally: they STOOD. They did not bow down to the golden idol. And guess who noticed? Yep, the king. He liked these guys- so he gave them a second chance thinking: “Maybe they forgot what they needed to do when the music started.” They had not forgotten though. They remained firm in their decision. Obviously, that made the king pretty mad. You know these men must have been scared- they knew what was coming next- death. That’s what makes their next words so astounding…
Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 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. 18 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.”
BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT.
BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT. Their meaning and influence will never change. For just a second though, I’d like for you and I to imagine their words if the story had ended differently- imagine them if the guys hadn’t been saved at the end. Would the power in the words change? No. That’s the beauty of these words- they were spoken BEFORE these men knew how the story would end. They were said when these men faced death because of their beliefs. These words hold power because they hold belief- belief in God’s power, but also in HIS plan.
These men- strong in their beliefs- understood the power their God possessed, but they also understood the plan their God had. A plan that wasn’t (isn’t) always clear, a plan that is not their own, a plan that takes crazy turns sometimes.
So as I close on my reflection, I would like to encourage you. Even when it seems like God should be saving us from something- our own fiery furnace- our belief in Him should be strong consistently. We need to trust that He has the power to save, but we need to trust that He also has a plan. Sometimes that plan includes not delivering us from something. I know that is hard to understand, especially when your hurting or scared, but just remember: God cares. He cared about these brave men, and He cares about you. Everything He does is because He loves us.
Let me challenge you: next time you pray for God to deliver you from your own fiery furnace, remember that EVEN IF HE DOES NOT- you will STAND firm in your faith.