Slightly Obsessed #063 "Unbowed" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-03-05 07:43:55
Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” –Matthew 22:21
The new statue of Nebuchadnezzar stood in all its golden ninety-foot glory, erected to honor the Babylonian king. Nebuchadnezzar planned a very special celebration for its dedication. A proclamation had been issued and sent throughout his kingdom: When the music played, every person in the kingdom was to fall down and worship the image. Nearby, a large furnace was a warning to anyone who dared to defy the king’s orders. Anyone who didn’t bow would be burned to death in it.
The day came. The music played. Everybody bowed.
Everyone, that is, except three young Hebrew men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These men were among those taken from their homes as captives of Babylon and trained in service to the pagan king with the new names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
In captivity these three men had served peacefully in the king’s court, administrating the kingdom for the very person who made them slaves. It’s hard to fathom the depth of trust they had in their God to serve under such difficult circumstances.
But now they were presented with a dilemma. They must feign worship to the image at the king’s command or face instant execution in a blazing furnace of fire. It would be easy to avoid the flames. But they knew they could not bow to a foreign sovereign, even in pretense.
So they stood alone as the people fell before the idol. At their refusal the king had the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The three Jewish men were tied up and thrown into the furnace. The men who carried them to the furnace were themselves killed by the intense heat.
The next moment, Nebuchadnezzar stood astounded. In the middle of the flames walked four men, unharmed and unbound. As for the three captives, the fire did not even singe their clothes. They walked out just as they entered, with one notable exception: they were free. The fire had done no damage except to burn off their bonds.
Who was the fourth man? Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed that the fourth had the appearance of a son of the gods. Did he ever know how close he came to meeting the King of kings?
If you are facing a trial by fire, and you feel the immense temptation to appease those around you, remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Stand for Christ. The flames heating up around you might simply be there to burn the ropes keeping you in bondage.
If you do not bow the knee to your enemy, you will emerge unsinged at the end of the day. And you will have walked with the Son.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.