TUESDAY, APRIL 17
1 John 5:21
“… keep yourselves
from idols …”
OUR GOD IS ABLE TO DELIVER US
The temptation to compromise with idolatry is always present with God’s people (1 John 5:21). Usually it is not a temptation to bow down before a physical object as in the case of Daniel’s three friends. More often (in the “civilized” world) it involves a direction of life and energy towards things that do not glorify our Lord or honour His revealed purposes for mankind and the Church.
Daniel’s three friends, though highly honoured by the king perhaps fifteen years earlier (Dan 2:49), now discovered themselves to be under intense pressure to conform to a demonic, idolatrous hysteria that swept the entire nation. How easy it would have been to rationalize their conformity to the crowd by saying, “We are bowing to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol physically, but inwardly we are worshipping the God of heaven!” Or, “If we honour the king in this significant way, we can witness for God!”
No, God’s way is always best. Compromise is always wrong. Daniel’s friends did not deliberately insult the king. In obedience to Jeremiah’s admonition, in fact, they had prayed for the government of Babylon (Jer 29:7). However, they now had no choice but to obey their God rather than mere finite and sinful man (cf. Acts 4:19). “… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us ... But if not …” (Dan 3:17-18). It was not God’s power to save them that remained uncertain to them, but rather His perfect plan and will in this particular situation.
Today God does not owe us miraculous deliverance from each danger. But He does graciously provide for us confidence in His loving and providential care in our walk with Him (Rom 8:28). If we keep all of this firmly in mind, the heroism and faith of these men will stand out in almost unparalleled brilliance, and a valid example is provided for all of us as we face daily temptations to worship that which is not God Himself.
THOUGHT: Never will the guidance of God take me where the grace of God will not provide for me.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to fear Thee rather than man.