Stand Firm: Part 2

26th February

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue about ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon…..when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and other musical instruments, bow down to the ground and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

Daniel 3:1,5-6

Daniel, an Old Testament prophet, was another man who refused to compromise, even when his own life was in danger. Daniel was one of the Israelite men and women taken into captivity by the mighty nation of Babylonia, led by the ferocious King Nebuchadnezzar. Time and time again, whilst in captivity, the various rulers of the Babylonian kingdom, tried to force their laws and their gods onto the helpless captives, in exchange for better food or even freedom. Yet Daniel and a few others, held fast and refused to deny the One True God, Yahweh.

King Nebuchadnezzar, in sheer pride, erected a golden statue to be worshipped in his honour. He also made a law, that whenever musical instruments where played, the nation had to bow down and worship this golden statue. Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to compromise and worship other gods instead of the One True God, Yahweh. Their actions sent King Nebuchadnezzar into a frenzy. In complete rage and anger, he threw them into a fiery furnace, heated four times hotter than normal, and left them to be incinerated……well that’s at least what he thought. God had other plans. God miraculously saved the four from being burnt and further sent an ‘angel’ to protect them; so much so that they didn’t even smell of smoke when they left the furnace.

Daniel and friends willingness to stand firm for God and to not compromise could have come at a great cost. Firstly they had to defy the will of the King, of one of the greatest and mightiest kingdoms ever to walk this earth. Secondly their stand could have led them to their death by fire. However all four counted the cost of compromising greater than that of disobeying King Nebuchadnezzar’s decrees.

Today, we also are faced with daily challenges to compromise. Compromise is all around us as people’s moral standards fall and temptation become evermore acceptable. Will you stand up for integrity? Will you stand up for Jesus….even if the consequences are great?

Stand Firm

25th February

““But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then chose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

Currently in the UK, there is an ongoing court case where a famous football player is being convicted of grooming an underage girl for his pleasure. Although he has not been convicted yet, the most likely verdict will be guilty. Yet what leads a man with a successful career (and a family) to fall so deeply into the enticement of sin? Is it because he didn’t have God in His life? Well, sadly in the church too, we see the same trend, whereby great men and women of God have also fallen into sin with great repercussions. What caused them to stumble? A lack of accountability? A lack of of moral consciousness? Moreover, if people even in the church can stumble, where do we find our source of inspiration from?

The Bible. Of course the obvious answer is Jesus, the sinless and perfect Saviour who faultlessly gave us the prime example of how we should live our lives. Yet there are also many other characters in the Bible, where we can draw inspiration from, such as Joshua. Joshua was a man commissioned by God to lead the people of Israel into the promised land after the passing of Moses. He faced a huge task, firstly to lead so many people and also because the journey into the promised land was full of enemies that had to be defeated; take for example the city of Jericho and the crossing of the river Jordan.

Joshua, in chapter 23 and 24, gives a final ‘last’ speech to the people of Israel, encouraging them to stay faithful and not to compromise by worshipping other gods. Joshua himself had led a blameless and holy life before God. In his final words he shouts out to the people with these words…But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. In other words, ‘I have led you to follow the Lord, set you an example with my life, and now whom will you serve… I don’t know about you but as for me and my family, we have made a choice to serve the Lord!’

Friends, in a world full of compromise, will you be counted among those who stand strong and commit to serving the Lord. Let us remember that no sin is to great for grace and no distance to far for God’s love. Stand up once more and keep fighting the good fight! But as for you…..??