Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said . . . 'Be it known to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods.'
Daniel 3:16, 18
The narrative of the manly courage and marvelous deliverance of these three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to engender in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Here is a wonderful example especially for young Christians, teaching them that when it comes to faith in action they must never sacrifice their consciences. Lose everything rather than lose your integrity, and when everything is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel that can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Do not be guided by expediency but by divine authority. Follow the right at every hazard. When you see no obvious advantage, then walk by faith and not by sight. Honor God by trusting Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether He will be your debtor! See if He does not even in this life prove His word that "there is great gain in godliness with contentment,"1 and that for those who "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness . . . all these things will be added to you."2
Should it happen that in the providence of God you are a loser for conscience's sake, you will find that if the Lord does not pay you back in the silver of earthly prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of what he possesses.
To wear an honest spirit, to have a heart void of offense, to have the favor and smile of God is greater riches than all the gold and diamonds in the world. "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it."3 An ounce of contentment is worth a ton of gold.
1) 1 Timothy 6:6
2) Matthew 6:33
3) Proverbs 15:17
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.