In my last post, I began by explaining that doubt is a powerful weapon that Satan uses against us as believers. (If you missed that post, you can click here to read it) Our culture comes up with a new “truth” nearly everyday. How do we know what to believe or where to stand?
You would think as believers that we would not be deceived and fall for Satan’s lies, however I remind you that Adam and Eve walked in the very presence of God and fell for the lies Satan told them. Okay, they were innocent and maybe didn’t know any better, right?
What about David? A man after God’s own heart. In the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was he tempted to believe the lie that he could do this one thing and no one would find out?
Check out the story here, 2 Samuel 11–12:1-15.
David believed that he could lay with another man’s wife and it would all be OK. When he found out she was expecting his child, he sent for her husband Uriah, who was a faithful servant of David’s, and tried to fix the situation by sending him home to be with his wife, hoping he would be convinced the child was his own. When all his efforts to cover up his sin failed, he sent Uriah back to the front lines carrying his own death warrant. When news of Uriah’s death came, David wasted little time in bringing Bathsheba to be his wife. Problem solved, right?
God always knows even when no one else does. We know that when the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin, David immediately repented and asked God’s forgiveness. That is one of the things that made David a man after God’s own heart, his repentant spirit.
Please understand, being a follower of Jesus does not make us immune to sin and its consequences. It is in how we respond to our sins and failures that build our relationship with God, that grows our faith, and gives witness to those around us that Jesus truly does live within us.
David chose his sin. No one pressured him into doing what he did; he acted completely on his own accord. In our culture today we are under extreme pressures to conform and accept whatever society conjures up in the moment as truth, no matter how ludicrous or anti-God it is.
How do we handle that? What do we do when it is no longer just one thing that we have to stand against, but wave after wave of continuing ugliness that goes against everything we believe and stand for?
We trust God.
The book of Daniel opens with Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon attacking Jerusalem and taking many people captive. It was a part of God’s judgment for their disobedience and rebellion. Daniel and his friends were some of the first ones to be taken. As young teens, they were brought into the king’s palace to become servants of the king.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
They were taken from their homes, families, and all that they had ever known; brought to this strange land where they were castrated and spent three years being indoctrinated in the Babylonian culture, learning their ways and language. They were to be given the best of the best from the king’s table so they would be healthy and strong however Daniel had already made up his mind as a young man that he would not defile himself with the king’s portion of food which was not kosher according to God’s laws for His people but also been offered to idols and false gods. Daniel took a huge chance here, trusting God. If you read further, you’ll see God gave him favor and he and his friends prospered.
Okay, you say that’s not such a big deal, it’s just refusing to eat some food. Move forward in Daniel’s life. It was Daniel’s custom to set aside time each day to spend in prayer to God and his colleagues did not like it. They were jealous of Daniel’s position and his favor with the king.
When he was faced with the prospect of death by lion or not keeping his quiet time, he chose death. Read it for yourself.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”
The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”
You can read on to see that Daniel was indeed thrown into the lion’s den and came out unharmed the next morning. Why? Because he trusted God and did not fear what man could do to him.
Read the rest of the story here.
Do you trust God like that? Can you stand and say I will follow God no matter what comes my way, no matter the earthly consequences?
Could you stand like Daniel’s friends facing the fiery furnace and say, “We will not bow to anyone besides the one true God.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
They stood before the king and declared, “Our God is able to deliver us and even if He chooses not to save us from the fire, we will still not worship the gold image you have set up.”
Read the rest of the story here.
As I close, take some time to look around you and see what it is the world is trying to convince you to give up, to compromise on, to bow down and worship. I want to encourage you today to take your stand and trust God no matter what the enemy threatens to bring our way. The God we serve is able and will deliver us… and if he doesn’t,
He can still be trusted.
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