Recently, I saw this short phrase on a t-shirt. It caught my attention because of the shortness of the phrase, but also because of this Bible reference underneath it: Daniel 3:18. This, of course, prompted me to look at that Bible verse – here it is:
“But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Since I am an English teacher, just reading this passage wasn’t quite enough – I knew that I needed more context. In this chapter of Daniel, we hear the famous Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. If you recall, King Nebuchadnezzar wanted these men to bow down to the god that he had set up, but they refused. So, the king threatened them; he said that if they did not bow down, he would throw them into the fiery furnace. Verse 17 gives us the context that we need to understand the short phrase, “even if…”.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”
What faith! They firmly believed that God could save them from the fiery furnace, but I marvel at their faith even more when they say in verse 18, “But EVEN IF he does not…we will not serve your gods…”
While we may not ever face the threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace, or ever be physically hurt for our faith, I’m sure there are times when we have all been judged for our faith. The same God that rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace, is the same loving God that provides the comfort and peace that only HE can give. BUT… “even if” he does not take away the persecution, judgement, or trial you are facing – stand strong. Never “bow down” to what the world wants you to bow down to. It can be difficult to trust in God’s perfect timing – but trusting Him completely means trusting in His infinite wisdom and His perfect plan.
My prayer is that you all are able to find peace in knowing that God loves you, and knows what you need - from the smallest, insignificant details of our everyday life, to the ultimate sacrifice He made to send his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. Through that sacrifice, we have the peace of knowing that all our sins are forgiven – not through anything we have done – but all through Jesus’ death and resurrection. On this Reformation weekend, let’s pause and reflect on how amazing that is – we are SAVED – not by our works or anything we have done, but through our Savior, Jesus!