In the book of Daniel we read of 3 guys with funky names. Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego. They were each about 18 years old, bold in their faith, and about to be put to the test.
Their king had built a huge golden image and he declared at the sound of the horn everyone would bow down and worship this golden image. And if they didn’t, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Harsh!
The horn blew, everyone bowed down and worshiped the King’s golden image, except for our 3 young men with the funky names. Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego. They refused to worship anything or anyone other than their God.
Now what happens when you disobey a rich and powerful king? He goes on a power trip! He has the 3 young men brought to him and threatens them. And their response is our scripture for the day.
Daniel 3: 17-18 “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. 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.”
My God is able to stop all this, but even if he doesn’t, I will do the right thing!
How do you respond when you’re pressured and stressed? How do you talk when you’re accused or blamed? How do you handle the possibility of things NOT going your way? We can learn so much from Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego. Their response was not “why God, why?” It wasn’t even anger towards the power tripping King who was undeniably WRONG. Their response was instead “we’re going to do this right.”
What fire are you facing right now? What difficulty or hardship is pressing in on you? Will you trade your frustrations and worries for an intentional focus on this one thing … “God, help me do this right.”
Help me respond right. Help me take the next right step. Help me control my tongue. Help me reign in my thoughts. I want to handle this right. God, I’m going to need your help here. Please help me do this right.
Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego were facing a fiery furnace of certain death, and yet their focus was on doing the right thing.
So what happens when you do the right thing? Of course the clouds part from the skies and the sun shines down on you. Everyone starts playing nice and life becomes easy. Yeah, what Koolaid are you drinking? Who sold you on that idea? What Bible are you reading because mine tells a different story.
What happened to our 3 young friends with the funky names after they did everything right? They were thrown into the furnace. God didn’t swoop down and rescue them from the dilemma. He let them walk right through it. And isn’t that how it is for you and I? We just wish God would snap his fingers and take it all away. Just fix it now. Heal immediately. Restore immediately. Bring on the magic numbers and the quick fixes please God … but nope, he says you’re going to walk right through this fire. Even when you do everything right.
But here’s what we learn. Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego were not alone in the fiery furnace. Jesus was right there with them. The King looked in the fire and he saw 4 men instead of 3 and he knew God was protecting them. They came out of the fire untouched. Scripture says not a single hair on their head was even singed.
And because they choose to face their trial and not run from it, but handle it right, the King was moved by their faith and demanded everyone stop worshiping his golden image and worship the God of Shadraq, Meshaq and Abendego. That’s our God by the way!
What impact could you make by doing the right thing in your fiery furnace of a marriage? In your fiery furnace of a family situation? In your fiery furnace of a traumatic childhood. In your fiery furnace of sickness? God is concerned about you, and he knows the impact you can make if you choose to do this right. Will you remain faithful? Will you keep showing up? Will you draw from God’s mercies daily? Will you refuse to dwell, refuse the offer of misery, refuse to be pitiful? Will you put on the armor of God for your battle?
Our God is ABLE to radically change our circumstances. He can move the mountains, he can part the seas, we’ve seen him do it. We know he can. But he doesn’t always choose to make things easy for you. No, he cares so much more about your character than your comfort. He knows an easy life creates lazy, ungrateful, entitled human beings. So he lets the flames rage and he protects us as we walk right through it. He lets the lions surround us, and he seals their mouths. He lets the storms roar, and he gets in our boat. He allows us to wander through the desert, and he provides for us daily. He lets our optimal time pass until our hopes seem impossible, then he does the impossible. In this process, we learn God can be trusted, and we have a responsibility. A responsibility to show up and do things right.
But that’s not the end of the story. One more thing. After they did it right, after they went through the fire, then they were promoted.
Whatever you’re going through right now. That sickness, that trial, that struggle, that hardship, that uncertainty, that test … if you will focus on DOING THIS RIGHT, you will walk right through this fire and then you will be promoted.
You will go to the next level.
So today, our focus is, “God, help me do this right.” Even when we don’t understand it. Even when it’s hard. Even when it seems totally unfair. God, just help me do this right.
Maybe there are some tough conversations you need to have today. Focus on just doing it right. Mabye there are some stressful situations you need to face head on today. Focus on just doing it right. Maybe you’ve been avoiding the next step because it’s hard, focus on just doing it right.
Lord, help me do this right.