Summary: How far are you willing to go for the one you serve?
Who is your Master? How far are you willing to go? Would you die for the Gospel of Christ? Often times we read about persons who have died or were tortured because they stood up for their beliefs. If we are to look at church history, John Hus, Martin Luther King, even Stephen these are people who were martyred for their beliefs. And for those who have absolutely no clue about church history, we could recall hearing stories of persons like Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters who were imprisoned for their beliefs and what they stood up for.
The text in Daniel 3, tells a story of three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were appointed as administrators in Babylon. The story goes on to tell us about a King called Nebuchadnezzar who made an image of gold and commanded the people to fall down and worship his golden image. And he issued a decree that whosoever hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp or pipes and does not fall down and worship this golden image will be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Word went back to the king that these three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who was set over the affairs of Babylon were paying him no mind. They neither serve his gods nor worship the image of gold, (vs. 12). Very angry, the king summoned the 3 Hebrew boys and asked them if the claims against them were true. And he decided to give them another chance to bow down and worship his image.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. Because if we are thrown into the furnace the God we serve is able to help us, and rescue us from your hands AND IF he does not, we are NOT going to serve your gods and images of gold. Now these boys got the kings very upset, so the king decided to heat up the fire even more, 7 times hotter. It was so hot that it killed the soldiers who tied up the three boys and threw them into the furnace.
But something great happened, something surprised the king because he saw four men walking around in the fire, unbound, unharmed and the fourth looks like the son of the gods. The king then approached the furnace and called out to the boys, and seeing that the fire did not harm them, neither was a single hair on their heads were singed, neither was their robes scorched or the smell of fire on them.
The king said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent his angel to rescue his servants. As we look at this text this morning, I would like us all to ask ourselves the question, How far are we willing to go for God? As we explore the passage some more I would like us to focus on the three D’s.
1. DISTRACTION – DO NOT BE DISTRACTED. This image was set up and everyone was asked to bow down and worship before this image. For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego it would come as a distraction to them. Because they only worshipped and served one God! And now this king has brought before them a golden image and was told to worship it. Today there are many distractions that face us in this lifetime. Even as we look around at our immediate surrounding, many of us leave our homes, as good Christian young men and women, and as we enter the world of ‘being alone,’ a world of turning our own keys, going in and out when we want, no mammy or daddy to say anything to us, yes the world I am talking about is University life. We leave our homes with one intention, to go get our degrees, study, study and study some more, but once we come through the gates of university and we began to get accustomed to university life, we tend to forget what our main goal was, and we get distracted.
We start to be influenced by our peers and often times in the wrong way. We forget that we were once Christians, and instead of telling our friends about Christ, we feel shame, and we follow the crowd! (Sounds familiar anyone?) Because there is no mummy or daddy to tell us anything, we go out get drunk, party and have sex as we like, and we get distracted from our main goal. The scene in the story was set perfectly for the three Hebrew boys, they could have forgotten everything they knew about God and worshipped the idol, in fear of their lives, but they refused to get distracted. Today I am saying to you, do not get distracted. Say true to yourself and stay true to your God.