As Christians, we pass through circumstances when our faith is tested time and again. It is one thing to know, to hear, and to talk about our faith just like mentioned in bible verses about faith. But to stand for your faith in God, practically, and to pay the price for it is a different issue. We all can talk a lot about our faith but when we must go through a real life situation the truth comes out, then the veil is removed from the reality.
A Christian family who was walking with the Lord for more than forty years had an adult son who became seriously ill. The family prayed a lot, they went to see various doctors but it was all in vain. Then they took their son to the sorcerers. Trying to justify their action they said, “Because our son is very sick we have to do something for his healing.”
Eventually their son passed away. What is the point? The point is this: it is one thing to talk about faith but it is a totally different thing to stand firm in your faith, in difficult situations. Real and living faith faces difficult circumstances, and does not back down.
In the book of Daniel chapter three there is the mention of three men; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon threw them into the fire because they did not worship the image of gold he had made. But because they stood firm on their living faith in God, they safely came out of that fire. From this incident we learn many practical lessons.
There is challenge in a living faith.
“……ye fall down and worship the image which I have made, well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
On one side there is the decree of the king; on the other side is the living faith of these men in the Divine. These men worshipped the living God. The king was absolutely alien to and ignorant of the living and true God.
Here are certain points which come to our mind as we read the king’s threats and demands:
Fall down and worship the image.
You must know that I am god. There is no other god apart from me. I am superior to your god. I am worthy to be worshipped.
If you will not bow down and worship, you will be thrown into the fire.
If you submit to me, your lives could be spared. If you obey the real and true God then you have to pay a price for that.
Which Dod will deliver you from my hands?
Now your life and death are in my hands. I am sovereign. Whatever I wish to do I can do. After listening to these words these young men stood firm in their faith in the living God, just like living room in itself showing great bravery and sacrifice.
There is boldness and sacrifice in a living faith.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand, O king.”
They were strong in their faith so they said, “But if not…” They meant, “…if our God will not save our lives, still we will not worship your god.”
“But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Now they were willing to die, they were willing to embrace death for their faith. When the king heard these words he became furious. He was terribly angry and ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter.
“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated”
Then the King ordered these men to be handcuffed and thrown into the fire.
There is suffering in a living faith.
It is very essential to suffer if we want to carry out our lives with a living faith. Without sufferings our faith is incomplete. After passing through sufferings our faith becomes more perfect.
“Sufferings are great asset of the Christian life.”
In sufferings we experience the deep fellowship, communion, love, intimacy, and presence of our Lord and Savior. Although these three men recorded in the Book of Daniel suffered a lot, they had a deep experience of divine peace, presence, protection, power and deliverance which was not possible for them in normal circumstances.
There is divine presence, protection, and deliverance in a living faith.
“He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
When people of God pass through tests, trials and tribulation then God Himself comes along with them. God never leaves them nor forsakes them, provided they are living in the truth of His word.
“… For He hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee”.
They were handcuffed and thrown into the fire but God loosed them from their bonds and they were walking in the fire. The king was badly upset by this incident;
“they have no hurt” (v. 25.).
“(he) saw …that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed, neither were their hosen changed, nor had the smell of fire passed on them”.
God indeed protects his people.
“The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
“Nebuchadnezzar spake and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and have yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God”.
With a living faith church worldwide God is glorified and the believer is honored.
“Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other god that is able to deliver after this sort”.
The living, solid, pure and tested faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, not only glorified the name of God but God also honored these men.
“Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the province of Babylon”.
When God’s people stand firm on their faith then God blesses and honors them
My dear elder, brother, sister, son, daughter! What type of faith you are carrying in your spiritual travel? Is your faith dead and hollow; empty? Is your faith such that it cannot face the difficult situations and circumstances? Is your faith like a dead fish that flows with the water and cannot determine its destination?
If you are going through such a situation then it is very sad and tragic condition. You have to mend your ways. Otherwise you must be prepared for very serious and horrifying consequences. But if your faith is living and true, is ready to face any kind of situation or circumstance then you are a blessed person.
Do you have boldness and sacrifice in your faith?
Who can answer better than you?
Are you willing to suffer for your faith?
If your response is affirmative, then believe that in difficult circumstances the Divine presence, protection and deliverance will be with you. With your pure, solid, tested and living faith the name of the Lord will be glorified and you will be honored as well.
May the Lord abundantly enrich us all with the wealth of a true, unshakable and living faith!
May His name be glorified; may the Lord protect the faith of us all.