Pastor Jim Stultz
One of the boldest statements of faith in the Old Testament was made by Daniel’s 3 friends. Every citizen of Babylon was required to bow down to a freshly erected idol made from gold by King Nebuchadnezzar. Whoever refused would be thrown into a furnace of fire. When the music sounded it was the cue to prostrate yourself. It was a government-mandated edict. In Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king: “…Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up”. We know that God miraculously rescued them from the fire and they did not even have the smell of smoke on their garments. What a powerful God we serve. In the book of Daniel, He is the fiery furnace deliverer, the lion tamer, and the One who can use vegetables to make you fat. However, two words that the Hebrew young men used are so important for us: “even if”.
They knew that God was able to deliver them if He so chose. But they also knew that sometimes God does not deliver His people from certain danger and even death. They may burn but they certainly were not going to bow. As the book of Hebrews tells us some of the great heroes of the faith were persecuted, tortured, and even martyred. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not depend on deliverance from danger or abundance of provision, or anything else. Their love for God was not contingent on any blessing or favor they may receive from Him. Theirs was an “even if” faith.
God is good. We who know Him have tasted His goodness so often. Yet we also realize that our God is sovereign. He does what He wills. May all of us love Him, serve Him, and obey Him “even if”.