If Humpty Dumpty and I sat down for a heart to heart, I think we’d find we have a lot in common. The first and most obvious is the state of our brokenness. The thing about the king’s horses and men unable to put us together again… yup. But I’m not so sure how Old Humpty’s issues ended. Maybe he erroneously figured he was worthless as a badly broken egg, or maybe he learned in pain and brokenness reside glorious blessings.
Exiled and immersed in a godless culture, in the service of a pagan king, three young men defied the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. Their response to a law which imposed worship of a golden image drew a line between a man and their Highest authority.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 ESV
Sometimes lines happen between good and evil, right and wrong. Oftentimes those lines in the sand reveal who or what we worship. Always they bring opportunity to grow our faith.
How do we find similar courage and resolve like that of Daniel’s three friends? Isn’t this the kind of steadfast faith we wish to have and want for our children and grandchildren? How can we pass down unwavering faith in God especially when we are surrounded by unbelief?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before a furious, narcissistic and neurotic king. He gave them two options; bow to an idol or die.
They saw two possibilities; God would rescue them or not. And whatever God chose, they believed God would never forsake them. Neither in death or life.
O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
- He is able.
- Deliverance will come.
- But if not, we will worship God alone.
What would I do? What would you do?
- I love the miraculous way those boys in the Bible walked through the flames with another Presence. I am awed at their unscathed bodies, clothes and the absence of even the smell of smoke on them. Yet, I know deliverance sometimes comes packaged in ways only God designs and understands. I may not always see its completion, still I must acknowledge Sovereignty throughout each, “But if not.”
How could they stand before the King so undaunted by their fate?
- Because bowing to an idol wasn’t even an option.
- Because worship belongs to One King alone.
- Such great lessons remain for us through these young men. Regardless of going against the flow, they stood strong. And I wonder, am I setting the bar high enough for myself and for those who come after me? Do golden images capture my affections and then compromise another’s? Do I toy with options when obedience to God is on the line? And do I possess the discernment to know the difference?
- Remarkable faith in action is admirable and encouraging. Yet, those actions are only the fruit of something much greater. It is about relationship with the God they served. These three young men knew beyond doubt God reigned as Sovereign King above every other. He held them in His hands with limitless power. They would obey, and He would act righteously.
- He holds us in His hands too. His powers are still without limit. He does what is right.
- Steadfast faith, like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego starts with relationship. Our God is the same God of Noah, Moses, and David. His hand moved in the lives of Mary, John, and Paul. He surrounded three young exiles on their own in a society bent on indoctrinating them to worship a different god. Unchangeable, vast, and flawlessly good, He is worthy of our unfettered devotion even in the “But if not’s” He allows.
“I am so broken,” I said to my husband when the fog of our daughter’s health crisis marked months on the calendar and pieces of my heart felt like shattered egg shells. “I don’t think I will ever heal.”
The God of miracles and of “But if’s,” is worthy of worship.
Shattered and broken is a good place for us. It is there the King of Kings touches exiled hearts. In our powerless Humpty Dumpty state, He is able to stitch together the scars so His light shines through.
Whatever you may be going through, He is able.