Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Three Sore Thumbs
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2 nlt).
Bow or burn. That essentially was the choice that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced. King Nebuchadnezzar had a 90-foot golden image of himself erected in Babylon and then commanded everyone in the kingdom to bow down to it. If they didn’t, they would burn.
But sticking out like three sore thumbs were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who stayed on their feet. They knew from the first two of the Ten Commandments that God told them specifically not to bow before another god.
When King Nebuchadnezzar heard about what they did, he gave them one more chance. But they still refused. They were from Nebuchadnezzar’s court, so this was an embarrassment to him personally. He was so angry that he gave the order for the furnace to be heated seven times hotter. Then his soldiers tied them up and threw them in.
However, Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked in and saw four—not three—figures walking around in the fire. I believe this was an Old Testament appearance of Christ walking with them.
Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the furnace and said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him” (verse 28 nlt). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had the resolve to make their stand because of the decisions, commitments, and resolutions they made years earlier.
Do you have character? Are you compromising as a Christian? Are you doing what is right, even in the little things? Every Christian will face the temptation to compromise. But character is not made in a crisis; it is only exhibited.
As you approach the beginning of a new year, it’s a good time to have some resolution—not a bunch of hard-to-keep resolutions. It’s a good time to have purpose, commitment, and a dedication to doing the right thing.
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