I like to give credit where credit is due. When I quote someone I always want to give credit to the one who had the insight or made the observation. But I am also bad about jotting down something I think is noteworthy or profound and in my haste, forgetting to write down who said it. So you know where I am going with this......I read a great quote but don't remember who said it. But even though I cannot tell you the name of the person who made this profound statement, I still want to share it with you. And this is it:
In all of Babylon, no on knew who the 3 Hebrew boys were, until everyone else bowed down.
Is that not profound? Think about it; a narcissist king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar had an idol made of himself and commanded that at certain times when music began to play, every person in Babylon must bow down and worship his image. (Do you think he may have bowed down and worshipped it, too? I think so.) Across that flat, desert land, when the music began to play, millions and millions of Babylonians, Jews, and countless other ethnic groups fell on their faces and did just exactly as they were told, because the penalty for disobedience was certain death in a fiery furnace. Now imagine looking out over that vast expanse of people, all bowed to the ground with their faces buried in the hot sand, and then imagine the look on Nebuchadnezzer's face when he sees 3 young men still standing, defying his command. In such a large group of people, they were unnoticed until everyone else was on their knees. Unnoticed, just faces in the crowd, just 3 slave boys doing what they had been brought to Babylon to do until they were commanded to do something that went against every fiber of their spiritual being; bow down to anyone or anything that wasn't their El Shaddai, The Lord God Almighty.
As with all narcissist kings, Nebuchadnezzar was outraged that these 3 young men who were no more than slaves could so easily disregard a command from him. As the guards muscled their way through the crowd then roughly took them to stand before Nebuchadnezzar, I imagine all 3 were calm, poised, and unafraid. After all, they had just remained standing when their natural urges of self preservation would have been to kneel.
Nebuchadnezzar was willing to give them one more chance to escape certain death, but they told him they would not obey, no matter how many chances they were given. In full agreement with each other they spoke these words to the king;
Our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up. (Daniel 3:17, 18)
God did deliver these 3 young men because of their faith and 3000 years later we are still talking about them.
Now, I don't see you or me having to make a decision like they had to make. I hope none of us has our faith tested in the way their faith was tested. But the truth is, every believer experiences times when we feel like we're the only one standing. At work when our faith is challenged by the language we hear, the gossip, the untruths, it's hard to be the only one not joining in. When your kids want to go to a movie or a party that you know is not appropriate, and you say no, and they quickly remind you that their friend's Mom (she's your good friend, too) thinks it's OK, you can feel like the only one standing. Friends and family whom we thought believed as we do, often disappoint and kneel while we're left to stand alone.
Would Shadrach have stood alone? I believe he would have. What about Meshech or Abednego? Yes, I believe each young man had already settled that question in his heart. If one of them gave in and bowed, I believe the other 2 would have stood alone. But sometimes, circumstances and situations leave US standing alone. The next time your friend is the cool Mom and you're the Mom who has to say no, remember Shadrach, Meshech, and Abenego. It's OK to say no and stand up for what you know is right and what you know God wants you to do. I personally believe that even when we have to stand alone and say that awful word, no, our kids will one day think we're a cool Mom, too. (and maybe even be just a little bit proud of us for caring enough to make the tough decisions. Our kids are worth the "no".)
Spiritual warfare is tough, and it would be so nice if we could fight the battle once and that would be the end of it. But the truth is, as long as we are in this flesh, the fight continues. So keep standing!! We send a strong message and get noticed when we stand even though everyone around us is sitting. (or maybe even kneeling)
I love hearing from you and I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Share with me a time when you felt like these 3 Hebrew boys and had to stand alone because of your faith. One day, when our faith becomes sight, we'll be so glad we stood.