Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
— Daniel 3:16-18
The crowd of Babylonian government officials gathered together before the 90-foot-high gold statue representing the gods of Babylon. The music played. And everyone bowed low, showing honor and loyalty to the king and his gods.
Everyone, that is, except three Jewish exiles serving in the government of the most powerful empire in the world. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood tall. They refused to disobey the true God’s first commandment. They stood out from the crowd in order to honor the one true God.
But when you are standing and everyone else is bowing low, you will be noticed. If you’re standing out from the crowd when you’ve been ordered to bow low, the king will get angry. Like a nail that is sticking up gets pounded down, so standing out from the crowd was getting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in trouble with King Nebuchadnezzar. He was cooking up a fiery punishment for them. Yet they still stood tall and confessed boldly.
Martin Luther was similar. He was a lone German monk questioning hundreds of years of entrenched church teaching and papal authority. Emperor and pope wanted to silence him. But he stood tall because he was convinced that he was standing up for the truth of the gospel. He didn’t care if he was the only voice in the crowd.
Are we always so courageous? Are we willing to speak up when the teachings of the Bible are ridiculed or contradicted? Or do we keep silent because it is just easier to go with the flow of mainstream society?
Thankfully, Jesus stood out from the crowd for us. He endured the ridicule of the religious elite. He stood alone before Pilate and the Jewish leaders’ false accusations. He was lifted up on the cross for our salvation.
As his forgiven children, let us stand out from the crowd. The truths of the Christian faith demand it. Let us proclaim the name of the one true God and his one way to heaven with boldness and courage.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us for our timidity and fear when we have the opportunity to speak your Word. Give us courage and boldness. Amen.
Taken from Meditations Daily Devotional™, Vol. 58, No. 4, edited by Curtis A. Jahn. © 2015 Northwestern Publishing House. All rights reserved.