Allow me to begin with a question, “Have you ever found yourself caught up in a storm you didn’t ask for? Or maybe placed into a system you weren’t designed for?”
In the Old Testament book of Daniel, we find Israel exiled from their home, carried hundreds of miles away and forced to live in Babylon. The culture was much different than their own, and, for some, their trust in their new ruler would be tested, alongside the testing of their faith in God. In chapter 3, the king has an image of himself built of gold. The dimensions of this image were 90 feet high and nine feet wide. It was designed on a 10 to one scale. The order was given that whenever music was played, every person was to bow down in worship to the image. Now there were all kinds of different nationalities and languages living under the sound of the music and the image.
Three young men chose devotion to God rather than servanthood to an image. The king was furious and cast them into a furnace to be burned alive for their disobedience. They not only survived the fire that day but they also thrived under the heat of the furnace. Jesus came and walked among them within the fire, and, when they were brought out, their hair was not singed, cloaks burned, nor was there any smell of fire upon them. The only things that were burned were the ropes used to bind them.
Maybe we should realize that in today’s world, as Christians, we are living in an ever-increasingly hostile environment. Images are being constructed throughout our land to draw us to false worship. Music should usher us into the presence of the Lord, but it is instead glorifying the image. I’m sure the three Hebrew boys felt their faith in God had led them to their death when they felt the heat of the fire and the binding of the ropes.
These three young men taught us the value of Godly devotion. They were not the older prophets we usually read about in scripture. They were young, passionate about God, and faithful to him alone. Notice with me that out of all the Jewish exiles in Babylon, these were the only three that are mentioned as defying the law of the land in order to faithfully serve the on true living God. These faithful servants were forced into a system and culture they never asked for, and they didn’t allow their surroundings to dictate their level of faith.
The abovementioned image was a 10 to one scale. The sheer height of the image compared to its width would make it a grand sight to behold but, according to its scale, would have to have a foundation that went deep into the earth to stabilize it. Foundation is everything in building. This type of construction would have placed immense pressure on the base and foundation. These three young men stood on their foundation in the same God that we serve today. The image the Babylonian king erected has been long since crumbled, but the God of the Hebrew boys is still powerful and active today.
These three young men not only survived Babylon during their time in exile and their testing of faith, they thrived because of their foundation in the one true and living God. If we stand long enough, we may go into the fire in bondage, but we will come out in freedom.
Come on out and spend some time with us this Sunday, at Christpoint Church. You can find us on the square in Sparta, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.