One of my all-time favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel. These 3 young men and the courage and conviction they displayed to defy the most powerful king in the world and his godless command is extraordinary.
Imagine with me that you are a 19-year-old man whose city and nation have been invaded and the most savage, barbaric cruelties have been inflicted on your fellow countryman, on your own family and relatives. You have watched as your parents, who were among the ruling officials of your conquered nation, are slaughtered right before your very eyes. You have been taken into captivity in chains and suffered horrendous indignities as a young man. You are forced into servitude and selected for special training to serve the very king who has killed your family and slaughtered and conquered your people. The faith and commitment to God of these young men is astounding.
Imagine the overwhelming emotions they would have had to deal with, imagine the trauma, grief, and loss, imagine the rage and anger they had to work through and process. Imagine the faith and courage to take a stand on such a simple thing as food, to stand with Daniel and refuse to eat the king’s food because it would have violated their faith and obedience to the living God and His commands to them in the Old Testament!
Several years into their service, the king decided to make a great statue of himself and demand that the entire nation bow down in an act of collective worship to his statue! (like Hitler worship in Germany in the ’30s) All the king’s officials from all over the land of ancient Iraq had gathered along with hundreds of thousands of people on the great plain of Dura. The plan was for a great musical concert to begin and when it did, all the people at once were to bow down to the king’s 90-foot tall golden statue of himself! They were severely warned ahead of time that anyone who did not bow down in collective worship would be immediately thrown into the blazing furnace of death! What would you do?
These men dared to defy and refused to bow down and worship the king’s image. They refused to compromise and disobey God’s word. They stood out amidst the sea of prostrate bodies like standing pillars of stone. They were immediately reported to the king. The king was furious. Ol’ Neb flew into a rage, he was spewing invectives, spittle flying from his mouth as he assaulted these 3 young men with his words, his eyes bugging out, his face flush with burning rage!! IS IT TRUE? IS IT TRUE? He shouted and screamed!! You refused to bow and worship me??
They replied, “O Neb, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing fire, the God who we serve can save us. But even if He doesn’t, you can be sure of this!! WE WILL NEVER SERVE YOUR GODS OR WORSHIP YOUR GOLD STATUE!! WE WILL NOT BOW DOWN!”
Oh man, I love these guys!! I mean, do you grasp this?! Have you ever been burned? I do not want to be burned alive!! Ol’ Neb lost it. I mean, he completely lost it. His face became distorted with rage and fury! He had the furnace made 7 times hotter than usual. He had the men tied up and had guards go throw them in and the fire was so hot that the guards themselves died just getting that close to it!
Suddenly Ol’ Neb jumps to his feet!! He is astounded to see not 3 but 4 men walking around comfortably, unharmed in the fire! He comes close, cries out to the men “Come out of there!” They walk out unharmed. The king and his men are stunned in amazement! Then Ol’ Neb utters these words, which for me, have been the theme and deliberate intention of my life for the last 44 years, “THEY DEFIED THE KING’S COMMAND AND WERE WILLING TO DIE RATHER THAN TO SERVE AND WORSHIP ANY GOD, EXCEPT THEIR OWN!”
Does this sentence describe you, men? Is this the cry of your heart, the commitment of your life, the settled conviction of your heart and mind as you raise your family? Will you dare to defy this culture and it’s lies and it’s way of life?
Are you a Bible man? Are you God’s man? Are you a man who has built your life, your convictions, and beliefs, your family, your marriage, your life decisions, your financial decisions on God’s truth in the Bible? Are you a man who is presently defying this world and living for God? Are you living to believe, obeying and standing for His commands, His Word, and the truths that He defines for us in the Scripture?
Men, did it ever hit you as you read the story of these men in Daniel, “Wait, are you telling me it was just 3 men, only 3 men out of all the captive Jews, who knew God, knew His word, that it was only 3 men, who chose to risk their lives and defy the king?!”
The truth is we are living in very similar times. In our day and age, the culture and it’s prevailing values, beliefs and opinions are the oppressive, godless king. They force them down our throats every single day using every kind of media and other means at their disposal, including many governmental policies. As Christians, we are truly exiles in our own nation. Very, very, very few Christians today would risk anything for God. Very, very, very few Christian men are willing to face the ridicule at work, or among their extended family members, or among their peers to stand up for Bible truth. Very few will risk the shame and humiliation to speak about it or obey it and live it out. Very, very few fathers today are willing to stand on and build their lives and lifestyle decisions based on the word of God. Very few men today are willing to make their financial decisions based on the principles and commands and priorities of the Bible. Most are carried away by the rampant materialism of this culture. Our money decisions deeply reflect the true values and beliefs of our soul!
Secularism and progressive leftism are sweeping across the nation, in the culture, and the church. They have redefined marriage to include one man and one man, or one woman and another woman. They have redefined a precious baby in the mother’s womb as a fetus, a non-life, a mass of cells to be ripped from their mother’s womb if one so chooses. They have told us that men can be women and women can be men. If we do not respect that, accept that, then we are bigots, haters, and intolerant racists. They have told us that men and women’s roles are interchangable, that the husband is not the head of his wife, that the wife need not be submissive to her husband, that the Bible’s teaching in this matter is oppressive and out of step with enlightened thinking. Evangelical feminism has infected many Christian churches. This culture tells us that the Bible’s instruction on raising and training children is oppressive and abusive. In many places in the country you can be penalized and have your children taken from you for practicing what the Bible teaches in raising and training your children. Under the penalty of law, they confiscate large quantities of our money to support an education system that, in addition to teaching the basic skills of reading, writing, and math, deliberately indoctrinates our children into an unbiblical, ungodly, evolutionary origins of life lie, an unbiblical, ungodly, sex education lie and gender lies, and an unbiblical, ungodly, liberal progressive leftist agenda filled with lies. Christian values and beliefs are regularly and deliberately denigrated and deceptively mischaracterized, and yet thousands upon thousands of Christian dads and moms do nothing about it. They passively go along with the system and entrust their children, given to them by God to this very system!!
Men, never, ever forget this. This world is built on sand! This world is built on lies and deceitful things. This world is passing away. They may love you today, and hate and kill you tomorrow. This world is ever-changing its definition of truth. Facts mean nothing to them. The disastrous outcomes of their policies, lies, and beliefs mean nothing to them. They love the darkness, they love and embrace the lies. They are fools in all-out rebellion to the living God!
This world and every human who is part of its system will face the eternal judgment and furious wrath of the living, eternal God!
We must not build our lives on that sand!
We must not be men who compromise with this world.
We must defy it. Live for God, and live the Bible!
Please listen to these very important messages on this very topic. They will greatly stimulate your faith, and bolster your convictions.
*Please understand that when it comes to certain financial decisions, for example, such as what kind of home to live in, we must all be careful in our judgments of others. I have dear, godly friends who live in very large homes who regularly host other hurting couples in their home to minister to them. I have dear, godly friends who live in large homes intentionally so they can have church meetings in their home. I have other dear, godly friends who live on large tracts of land in efforts to accomplish specific things with their children. I have other godly friends who live in a tiny home to use as much of their income to support missionary efforts around the world. I have other godly friends who build additions onto their homes with the intentional purpose of using it for Bible studies. Others use their home to build equity, to intentionally build a nest egg to provide an income for them in their later years of life when they cannot work full time. The most important thing is this: is the Bible and its biblical principles guiding your decisions? Is God genuinely leading you? Do you have an eternal perspective in mind, the purposes of God as your mission and is your conscience clear?