August 24, 2016
READ: Daniel 3:1-30
We want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up (v.18).
According to Christian tradition, Telemachus was a fourth-century monk who jumped into a Roman Coliseum to stop a gladiator fight, shouting, “In the name of Christ, forbear!” Telemachus was killed for his efforts, but his act of courage, compassion and conviction triggered the end of the violent ‘games’. It’s said that Telemachus was divinely inspired to visit Rome, and he stayed true to his calling.
This monk’s story reminds me of three young Hebrew boys who also stood firm in the face of overwhelming odds. When Nebuchadnezzar raised a golden image and decreed that everyone should bow down to worship, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not (Daniel 3:12). Enraged by their defiance, the Babylonian king gave them one more chance to comply or face certain death.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not waver. They declined the king’s offer, stating, “The God whom we serve is able to save us. ...But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (vv.17-18). These young men declared with their actions what Oswald Chambers put into words: “I care not what God will do; I care who God is.” Instead of focusing on whether God would deliver them, the three centred their lives and actions around who God is—the only One worthy of worship.
Our ability to stand in the midst of trials will depend on the focus of our gaze. If we’re looking only for immediate deliverance, we may not endure. If, however, we’re looking to Jesus, then He’ll help us to realise that whatever happens, the story doesn’t end here. We will one day be in God’s presence, worshipping Him alone for all eternity.
365-day plan: Mark 10:17-31
Read Phil. 3:8-11 to see what Paul says about his motivation for serving God.
What happens to us and to others when we choose to glorify God in and through our challenges? What steps can you take to trust Him more when difficulties arise?