Let Your Light Shine

Many of us at times can be plagued by the worldliness that surrounds us. A lot of us have jobs that demand so much time spent in some of the most ungodly, Christ dishonoring places; or some of us are the only Christian in a family of non- Christians. Those kinds of environments can have a strong influence on us if we are not careful. We can either be lights in the darkness, or the darkness can swallow us up. We can either demonstrate godliness and the love of Christ in our life, or we can let the world’s problems, complaints, and wickedness affect our thinking so bad until we start losing sight of the truth. For most Christians in those environments, not one day goes by that they may be tempted to compromise their faith; whether it is participation in ungodly conversation, or being told to do something that completely goes against the Lord and His commands. Whatever the case may be, this is a true test on our faith. Do we really have our complete trust in God to the point where we rely on Him fully whatever the outcome may be; or do we give in because the consequence would be unbearable?

Daniel chapter 3 gives us an account of the amazing faith of three Hebrew men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men were deported from Judah to Babylon around the time of the Babylonian Captivity (605 BC). These men came to a place with a different culture, and religious practices that went completely contrary to their faith in the One True God. These men, along with Daniel, were exiled because of the unfaithfulness and idolatry of Judah of the southern Kingdom. Judah was being punished by God, because of the sin they had fallen into. The scene in Daniel 3 opens up with the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, making a statue of himself overlaid with gold that was about 90 ft high and 9 ft wide (v. 1). He then makes a command that every man from every nation and language was to bow down in worship to this image of him whenever they heard the music of the lyre, flute, bagpipe, etc. loudly proclaimed (vv. 4-5). This was the epitome of men “exchanging the truth of God for a lie” and “worshipping the creature instead of the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). There was also a scary consequence given by the King if men did not obey this command. If any refused to worship this image, he would immediately be thrown into the furnace of “blazing fire” (v. 6). What would these three men do? These men were true worshippers of Yahweh. They knew that He was the One True and Only God. Would they succumb to idolatry, the very thing that exiled their nation to Babylon? We find the answer in verse 12. They were brought in front of the king because they refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, or bow down to his image. These men would not compromise their faith! They knew the consequence of not complying with the command of the king, and when asked to respond they answered: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (3:17-18). These men would have rather been thrown in the furnace and burned to death then to compromise and worship the king. If you know the story, then you know how it ended. They were indeed saved from the fire by the Lord, and He was glorified. But there is something that we can learn from these three Hebrews and their tremendous faith. These men were ready to die for their faith. Their trust was completely and totally in the Lord. Whether the Lord would save them or not, they were fully committed to Him, and trusted Him for the outcome of their situation. Do we have that faith? Can we honestly say that we would trust the Lord even if we get fired from our job, or lose a friend whom we cherished so much because we stayed faithful to Christ? As a new creation in Christ, there are things we will have to change. We cannot do everything that everyone is doing or like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we cannot worship the image like everyone else was (v. 7). I pray that our trust would be completely in Christ, and no matter what circumstance we face in this world, that we would let our light shine like these men did, obey God, and leave the outcome to Him (Prov. 3:5-6).

Shawn Mcgowan

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