Too HOT or Not?

You hear about it all the time.
At least one time in your past, you've probably done it yourself.
We don't like to think of it this way. We have such creative ways of explaining our own choices that sound much better than those of
"other people."

But it's the same thing.

How many times have you bent the knee to old Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol?

Come back here!
You have and you know it.

The familiar story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego found in Daniel 3 is great for keeping 3rd graders enthralled in Sunday School. But too often, we leave it there. We make the expected point about trusting in God and then close the book.

But let's talk about all those other people who DID bow to the golden idol. We tend to dismiss them and focus on the 3 brave guys who refused. They are worthy of attention, but how many times can you say you have stood alone in a sea of popular opinion?

Let's take the whole antiquated golden statue out of the picture. Culture differences tend to make us skip the whole point, but we need the point. We live the point:

  • The man who played with the numbers to avoid the IRS.
  • The millions of pre-teen girls dressed like street whores.
  • The teenage youth leader who gives into sex with the quarterback to save her popularity.
  • The preacher who begins to believe his own positive press.

They are the masses we ignore in the story.
They are the ones bowing down.

There had to be others in that vast crowd who didn't believe in the idol either. There were many other captive Israelites in Babylon. Where were they? They knew the God of Israel. They knew his commands, his standards, and his power. That's why they were captives in the first place. They had tossed those out the window. So...where were they?

They were where we have each been at some point in our lives. Excusing ourselves.

They looked around. Everyone else was doing it. It looked harmless enough. Just a bent knee for a few seconds, then it was over. Shouldn't make that much difference. Who will notice? No one will care.

Besides, that fire is HOT!

God's choices are usually hot. Righteousness is HOT. Selflessness is HOT. Standing alone in a crowd of idol worshipers is too HOT. Swimming against the tide is unpopular and unpleasant. Most of the time, complete obedience to God is just too HOT.

God's expectation of us is found in verse 27. "They were willing to die rather than disobey God." That's the key. We're usually not.

Salvation took death to achieve for us. And it takes death to perfect in us. Our death. But most of us are not willing to die to ourselves and live for God. The fire is just too HOT.

Could that be why our world is in the shape it's in?

Could that be why our nation, once "under God," is now under attack? Because to stand alone and defy culture is just too HOT.

The outcome of the Bible story is the change of an entire nation's allegiance within the space of one day. The idol came down and holiness came in because 3 young guys didn't let the quaking in their sandals stop them from obeying God.

How might your world change if you decided that no fire is too HOT to keep you from obeying the voice of God?


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