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What does your testimony look like?

Daniel 3:13-28 tells the story of the three Jewish boys in Babylon who stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar.

What a testimony?

“King 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 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.” (Dan. 3:16-17)

Were I one of these three men, I would be as enraged as Nebuchadnezzar, ready to fight fire with fire. However, I hear their quiet confidence. Their faith in God’s providence. They speak without rancor or guile. They quietly speak truth to power. It is as Jesus did when he spoke to Pilate with a certainty that nothing that is done to them, can and will make a difference to change their belief in God. They needed no time to consider the consequences of their response. They knew immediately what had to be said, what they needed to do and they did it without hesitation.

In the story we see how fickle human behaviour is. These young men were at first favoured and respected by the King. Verse 12 says they were in charge of one province in the Babylonian Empire. The King couldn’t imagine that they would be disloyal. But when they refused to do as he asked, and his attitude changed to rage. The fire that he had lit, killed his own people, but that did not matter. I was amused because does it matter whether it is a small match that burns you or a big flame. Isn’t the burn just the same?

But would we have responded in the same manner as these young men?

The story shows that their confidence in God was not misplaced, because God saved them. There are 4 other things that stand out.

Firstly, "if god does not save us, we will not serve your Gods and images". They understood that saving them may not be how God’s glory was to be revealed and they were willing to go with God’s plan irrespective of where it led them. God may not deliver you in the way you want, but we should be confident that God will deliver us. Psalm 23 tell us in the darkest hour, the psalmist feared nothing. Psalm 130 from last Sunday's readings says when we cry out God hears and responds.

Secondly verse 25 tells us Nebuchadnezzar said “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” God was with them in the fire. Just as God acted with them God acts with us. God goes through our trials and tribulations with us.

Thirdly, we should be consistent in doing God’s bidding, no matter what else seems important. These three men were standing with integrity. They didn’t say one thing and do another. Many times we rationalize the wrongs we do. Everybody else does it, so it is ok. Yet we know that God would not be ok with it. Even when our conscience pricks us we go with the crowd.

Fourthly when we look at this situation, everything about it was overwhelming, these boys stayed strong and immovable. Look at it. They were brought before the King of Babylon, the then King of the whole world. Nations couldn’t stand up to him, why did these three young fellows believe they could get away with it. Even the cow they were asked to worship, it was so huge it could be seen from several villages. Reading psalm 24 is an apt and sarcastic response to the situation. Who is the king of Glory? Who did Nebuchadnezzar think himself to be? The lord mighty in battle? God is that King mightier than any other.

We should never forget that there is only one God. No matter the situation God will see us through. God walks with us. No matter what happens God will reward our integrity and our loyalty to God. Let us be like the three young men knowing and being confident that God delivers always. Amen

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