Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we’ve all heard the story, but let me paint a fresh picture for you. Three handsome young Jewish men, heads shaved, dressed in the finest robes the Babylonian world power afforded the government officials, stood, while a desert plain of people bowed before a twenty seven meter high gold covered idol.
At stake wasn’t just a reprimand or a ‘written’ warning from the boss, but a law demanding that everyone who didn’t bow before this idol was to be thrown into the furnace. Top marks to the Babylonians on the creative use of a furnace, but the message from the king was clear, ‘I am the law’.
What was even clearer was the message these three young Jewish men communicated to the king Nebuchadnezzar,
Do we have an ‘even if’ in our personal vocabulary?
Do we we look to serve Jesus ‘even if’ we don’t get what we have been longing for?
Deciding now to follow Jesus ‘even if’ we don’t see that prayer answered, enables us to leave the door open to a greater faith, an even deeper walk with God.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were determined that they trusted God, even if he didn’t save their lives from the flames. God did however, protect them from the flames of the super heated ‘dial it up to 11’ furnace. These three good Jewish boys had decided beforehand that God was worth being faithful to even when it looked like it was going to cost them everything.
Cost. Someone once said,
‘If it costs you nothing it’s worth nothing’.
Things of value cost.
When we see things of great value we expect them to be of great quality.
What is our faith costing us right now?
What is the cost of following Jesus?
Jesus stated exactly the price of following him when He said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me (Luke 9:23). Jesus here talks about putting others needs before our own. It’s about living our lives for others. It’s about denying ourselves those selfish desires we have in order to put someone else’s needs before our own.
What do we do when God doesn’t move that mountain? that thing we have been praying about and haven’t seen a change? When we have something painful in our lives that would just be changed or go away if God just said the word but He doesn’t appear to. Or do we follow Jesus even if we don’t see the outcome we are looking for and pay the price, because He’s worth it, and He paid a much higher price for us.
Our relationship with God cost the Father and Jesus a lot. Following Jesus also has a cost. We can decide when we are faced by unanswered prayer, or circumstances that won’t change even though we know God can change them, to continue to follow Him because when our faith costs us something, our faith in Jesus becomes so much more valuable to us, and our taste of the loss to the Cross is sweet.