“Continue in the faith”.
Billy Graham said: “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened”.
An amazing example of courage for God's people to contemplate is in the Old Testament in Daniel. It is about three brave and courageous Jewish men who took a stand for their faith. They were from Babylon and their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were servants and advisors for the Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar.
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue and then “he sent messages to the princes, prefects, governors, advisers, counselors, judges, magistrates and all the provincial officials” to come to the dedication of the statue. When all of them were assembled before the gold statue, King Nebuchadnezzar issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down when they heard the sound of the musical instruments, to worship a “90'high and 9' wide (NLT) gold statue. If they refused to obey they would be thrown into a blazing furnace.
This is where the story begins for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were in charge of the province of Babylon. Their attitudes and religious beliefs conflicted with the king's decree, therefore the three men refused to bow down before the gold statue.
Meanwhile, they were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar to be given another chance to bow down before the gold statue along with the same threat of death in the fiery furnace. The king said: “What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?”. They respectively stated: “...the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power...But even if He doesn't, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up (NLT)”. The king's face was filled with rage.
The three men were tied up and thrown fully clothed into the blazing-roaring flames of the furnace. The flames were so high that they leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the men into the furnace. And then the miracle happened!
The king, as he was watching the blazing furnace, noticed four men, who were unbound, walking around in the fire. He exclaimed: “They aren't even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!”. The king called and said: “servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”. When the three came out Nebuchadnezzar was amazed that not a single flame had touched or singed them, and their clothes were not even scorched. “They didn't even smell of smoke!”
As God's people, keep up your courage while walking through the flames of trials as they will not set you on fire, and “continue in the faith”. His people have the comfort of knowing that when they take a stand for Him, He will be with them, gently guiding and filling them with His mighty inner strength and power to stiffen their spines.
Lord God, thank You for providing Your mighty inner strength and power to us. Help us to rely on Your help to stiffen our spines to stand strong for You. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington