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: 17, 18


The three young men from Israel, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego, were faced with a hard dilemma. They could give in the king’s edict
by worshiping the gods of the land, or they could be placed inside of the impossibly
hot furnace so that they would be destroyed by the heat and the flames. This is
a decision that very few people that I have met have faced; actually, I don’t
know of anyone who has faced this one. Yet, it is a type of decision that we
all encounter regularly. There are people and powers in our world who demand
our loyalty and our worship daily. Sometimes the outcome for not giving what is
asked can be as extreme as the threatened end that these three men faced.


There are cultural gods, financial gods, and family gods
that demand our attention. We live in a world in which the very systems that
operate our governments and our political processes can be as gods to us. Also,
our churches and other religious institutions can take on a role in our lives that
seems to serve as a substitute for the sort of self-sacrificed vulnerability
that a true relationship with God requires; so, they become our own very real
golden images. Each of us is granted many opportunities to respond to the call
to worship that is sounded from these idols, and every day of living in our
world seems to bring about similar new challenges and temptations. Like the men
in our story, our ability to stand up to the call of these gods may be found in
our knowledge and relationship with the one true God.


They knew their God well, and they worshiped Him
continually. They trusted Him for everything that they would need to make it
through this life. They were surrounded by all of the riches, knowledge,
science, and potent worldly magic that was known to people in their times.
Still, they knew from the depths of their hearts that God alone was the One who
gave them the very lives that they lived. They were willing and ready to
sacrifice it all in order to remain true to the commitment that they had from
God and that they had given to Him. They understood their place in God’s
reality as being that of His beloved and cherished bride. They knew that He
would never leave them or fail to keep them safely at His eternal side. Thus,
nothing in this life mattered above that relationship, and nothing could ever
force them to compromise on the vows of faithfulness that they had made to God.
Our God does hold us as His bride, and He will provide all that we need. There
is no idol that can care for us in the way that He does. There is one and only
one God who is worthy of our worship.