October 9, 2010

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had learned at an early age that they could trust God no matter what.  So the refused to worship a man, or something they knew was not a god, even if it meant possible death.  You probably know the story, but lets pick it up in Daniel, chapter three:

Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

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.”

The King James version renders verse 18 like this, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

I’m afraid I can’t give attribution or verification to this next story, but I heard ( back when more people had at least rudimentary knowledge of the Old Testament) on the eve of a great invasion when England was on the edge of destruction, that Winston Churchill gave a radio address where he simply stated, “But if not.”  and it was a rallying cry to all who could hear that they would not surrender, they would not bow down to Hitler.  The British people rallied behind their leader and repelled the enemy.  Again, I don’t know any source for that story, so perhaps it was just a wonderful sermon illustration from a fertile mind.  But I think it’s true.  And I like it regardless.

That is the attitude I a currently striving towards.  I want to be a man who trusts God not matter what.   I believe he will relieve and restore me.  I believe that very soon I will again be serving in a meaningful, productive ministry that brings glory to God.  I believe it.  I want to say even if that doesn’t happen, I will still serve, follow and love God.  I want to be able to say, “But if not…I will serve no other god. ”

So these days, in addition to that perfect fit that is waiting for me, I pray for courage in case I miss it; or already have.  Some days reading the Bible brings hope (I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord…).  Some days it brings  promise (Ask, and you will receive, seek you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.)  Some days, however, it is good to read how other ordinary people handled adversity, and how these ordinary people did extraordinary things.  Because I don’t serve a God of ordinary, I serve an extraordinary God, who will deliver me.

But…if not…


One Response to “But…”

  1. Sue said

    Wow. This post greatly encourages me to find miracles and blessing in the middle of persecution. God will indeed deliver his children from the fiery furnace and with “more than” we could ever ask or imagine. He sees everything. He knows all about it. He is faithful. I doubt God will allow you to miss his (next) place of service for you because of how much he loves you and is preparing for you. Even so, count me as one who is encouraged by your right-now-service thru this blog. Did I remember to thank you? Thank you! Thank you and Thank you!

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