Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful 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 thine hand, O king. 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.
The importance of faith in the Christian life cannot be denied. It is by faith that we are to live. It is by faith that we please God. We love the great stories that we hear of those who have done great things by faith. Throughout the Bible we see much that was accomplished, some even miraculously, because of great faith. We can also think of the great spiritual leaders in the last few hundred years who have lived by faith. Of course, George Muller comes immediately to mind: the man who ran orphanages and raised money to keep them going, simply by prayer and faith in a great God.
In Hebrews chapter 11, the Hall of Faith chapter, we see all that was accomplished by the great men and women of the Bible by faith. Their examples motivate us to live by faith and accomplish great things for God. But we often neglect the last part of Hebrews 11, where those who lived by faith did not always see the positive results we associate with faith. They did not always see great things achieved the way some of those in the first part of the chapter did. Many of the men and women who had great faith were tortured, mistreated, and even put to death.
The question for us to meditate on is this: what quality of faith will we have? We need to have the same quality of faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had. But let us not base that faith on the results that their faith achieved, deliverance from the king’s punishment and certain death in the fire. Let’s have the kind of faith they had before they knew what the results were to be. We like that they stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar very boldly. We like how they responded and said that they would not bow down to the false idol. We like their unwavering belief that God could deliver them from the punishment they were facing. We like their wholehearted faith and belief that God could deliver them from the fire of punishment.
What we often neglect to notice about their faith is that it did not end there. We forget the first three words of verse 18, “But if not.” They had a rock-solid belief that God could deliver them from death, but they also had that same type of faith to stand up and obey God even if it meant they would die. They were willing to stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s edict believing that whatever God did was best for them. If He delivered them either through the flames or from the flames, that was great. But if He did not deliver them and they did have to die, they were fine with that as well.
What kind of faith do you have today? Do you have a faith that believes God can do great things, things that you desperately need in the tumultuous trials you face? Do you have a faith that God can come through and enable you to come out on the other side in difficult situations and times of great need? I hope you do, because our God can do great things and change circumstances. But we must also have the faith to truly believe that if things don’t turn out the way we desire, God is still in control, and He is still good. That is the “but if not” type of faith. That is the quality of faith that we should strive to have.
Maybe the reason we have trouble hearing God is because of all the unfiltered noise we are allowing.
In order for anything or anyone to be truly successful or lasting, I believe God has rules laid out to be followed.