"But If Not..."
Daniel 3:18 ESV
But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.
What a world we live in, amen? We see and read of our Christian brothers and sisters being beheaded for standing up for the name of Jesus. Other atrocities are committed as well. It grieves our hearts and we do well to pray for Christ followers around the world.
But this kind of persecution is nothing new. As we keyed on "nevertheless" yesterday, this account came to mind. Although they don't actually say the word, it is implied in their response to the pagan king when they said "But if not..."
It is a tremendous account. I urge you to go back and read all of Daniel 3. The three men who said this were Jewish. The king of Babylon had commanded that everyone fall down and worship the image (of himself) that he had erected. These brave young men were faithful to the one true God and would not comply.
As a result, they were thrown into a burning fiery furnace. It was so hot that even the men who through them in were consumed by it. But the three were miraculously spared because of the presence of a fourth man in the flame with them - and the king of Babylon made the astounding declaration:
"But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like the Son of God." (verse 25 NKJV)
What might we learn from all this, dear friend? One thing, perhaps, is that there is uncertainty as to how long it will be til we face similar persecution. How will I, how will you, respond? It's a question we need to face. Will we stand for the Lord Jesus? The church in Philadelphia in Revelation was commended for this:
"You have kept my word and not denied my name."(Revelation 3:8)
May that be you and me, dear one, if it ever comes to that. The fourth man in the flames above remind us that we are in the care of that blessed One who loved us and gave Himself for us. Please go read Daniel 3. Take courage. The coming of the Lord is drawing nearer.