ODJ: our culture’s idol

May 22, 2015 

READ: Daniel 3:1-30 

When you hear the sound, . . . bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue (v.5).

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue always puzzled me. How was it possible for a king to erect a statue and then demand that everyone bow down to it? (Daniel 3:1,5). The whole story seemed silly. And that was before the Veggie Tales video version, which substituted the statue with a chocolate bunny!

A struggle we all face is to seek God and His ways instead of our own ways. It can be so easy to simply strive for what makes us happy and not concern ourselves with how it might affect others. The idol of individualism is so prevalent that a fast-food restaurant chain has changed its slogan from “Have it your way” to “Be your way”. The new motto may encourage us to live the way we want, but far greater freedom and joy can be found in living by the wisdom of our great God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s herald shouted, “Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (v.6). With that in mind, today we will sometimes feel the sting of persecution over values and choices that contrast with the ways of the world. But it’s so worth it! For only as we love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, will we find real life (Luke 10:27-28).

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego showed great resolve in lifting God high as they challenged the king: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve . . . will rescue us from your power . . . . But even if he doesn’t, . . . we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Isaiah 6:1-13

Read Acts 5:17-42 to learn how we should respond to the powerful pressure to disobey God. 
What’s the difference between healthy self-expression and sinful individualism? How can you support the former without encouraging the latter?