In these days of ‘political correctness’, when so many traditional values, definitions, attitudes, practices and life styles are being challenged for fear of causing offence, the experiences of four young men we read of in the book of Daniel presents us Bible-believing Christians with a great challenge.
Daniel and his three friends, who became known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, had been taken away as captives from their own country to live in Babylon. Here they were faced with being uprooted from their home and everything that was familiar to them. They had to live in a foreign country and learn a new language and become familiar with different customs and culture. They must have adapted very well, because we are told that their abilities were soon recognised, and they were given positions of authority in society.
However, when the king constructed a golden statue of himself, and issued an edict that everyone should bow down and worship it, and that any one not doing so would be thrown into a blazing furnace, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not comply. Even with the threat of the blazing furnace, as devout Jew, who worshipped the one true God, they were not prepared to compromise their faith. Consequently, they were thrown into the furnace. But God honoured their faith in Him and preserved them from death. We read this exciting story in Daniel 3.
A similar story appears later in Daniel during the reign of the next king, Darius. Daniel had distinguished himself so well that the king planned to appoint him with special responsibility over the whole of the kingdom. There were those who were jealous of Daniel, especially as he was a Jewish captive, and they looked for ways to bring charges against him.
Because of his absolute integrity, they decided that the only way in which they could bring charges against him would be in connection with his faith. They did this by persuading the king to issue an edict that anyone who prayed to any god or human being during the following month, other than the king, would be thrown into a den of lions.
Like his friends, Daniel was not willing to compromise his faith, even with the threat of a lions’ den. He continued to pray to his God in the way he had always done, and which was obvious to all, with his windows open towards Jerusalem his holy city. This resulted in him being thrown into the den of lions, but God honoured his faith and he was unharmed by the lions. This is another wonderful story, illustrating how God will honour those who honour him (see 1 Samuel 2:30).
The New Testament makes it clear that, as Christians, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20), and, therefore, we are foreigners and exiles here on earth (1 Peter 2:11). Daniel and his friends had to adapt the best they could to the environment they were in, but there were certain things they could not, and would not, condone or accept. We too face the same type of challenge when it comes to seeking to uphold the word of truth, as contained in the Bible.
May the Lord help us to have the faith and courage of these men and not be guilty of sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please give me the faith, courage and integrity to uphold Your truth, whatever the cost. Amen.
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