Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
As an Eagle Scout, I know and believe in their motto, “be prepared.” This slogan opens the door to a good example of the contrast between what we say we believe, and the difficulties we experience in putting it into practice. No one would argue against being prepared, but we all run into many pressures, schedule constraints, and excuses for shortchanging the time and effort required for good preparation. Today we will look at wonderful examples of results of good preparation, and even go beyond into putting our life on the line to back up what we say we believe.
Daniel and his three Hebrew friends were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar to become reeducated, re-mediated, and made ready for politically correct service to the King. In passing we can note that the foundational freedoms fought for by founding father patriots, are being eroded and replaced today with legally required political correctness which redefines freedom of speech and freedom of religion as hate speech. Thus the pot calls the kettle black by intolerantly requiring politically correct speech in the name of tolerance. It has only gotten worse since Jeremiah. “Everyone will deceive his neighbor, And will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity.”(Jeremiah 9:5) Today in the US, the government is ordering citizens who are used to free speech to attend politically correct speech class which violates the Constitution, the Bible, and the consciences of God fearing people.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had already experienced retraining in Babylonian culture school. But when they refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s 90 foot statue, he threw them in to a burning furnace in a fit of furious rage. Their preparation prior to age 15 equipped them to withstand both of these extreme tests without compromise, self-defense, disrespect, lectures, or accusations. Much like Jesus, they committed themselves into the care of their God, trusting in his provision. God stood with them in the furnace, which prompts one of my favorite sayings, “if you stand up, you’ll stand out, but you won’t stand alone.”
Because jealous peers of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego became tattletales, these three came into the public spotlight of the world’s most powerful King. Fortunately their preparations included the integrity and authenticity of honoring God both privately and publicly. My own issues include the challenge being faithful to God, rather than being fearful of men or attempting to please them (including wanting public affirmation). Three things that help my focus and perspective include: To keep eyes of faith on God and be faithful to him over any fear of man or desire to please men, and recall that to be with him and like him forever certainly is worth dying for. This kind of focus also prepares me daily to reply with love and silence to derision, ridicule, and “smart-mouth” answers to my words and actions.
In summary, the outstanding stability of these Hebrew teenagers, due to their preparation, allowed them to serve God and be his witnesses both in private and in public, in such dramatic ways that it totally transformed the heart and theology of King Nebuchadnezzar. I think it is a no-brainer to deduce that the parents of these teens instilled God’s word and principles into the lives and decision-making of their children in highly motivational and practical ways.
Because of God’s powerful word, promises, and merciful blessings, I am prepared for eternity by accepting Jesus’ payment for my sin and allowing him to dress me in his righteousness. How about you? If you enjoyed this, you will surely enjoy the source of its inspiration, Big God in a Chaotic World, book just published by our senior pastor; available at http://brucebmiller.com/books/