By Tayde Curry, Regional VLB Coordinator
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Dan. 1:1-8)
The four Hebrew children mentioned in these verses lived in a similar environment to ours. They had been taken captive from their homeland, out of Israel and into Babylon. They were Israelites, so they grew up in a nation that had God’s law. Throughout the Old Testament, we see that Israel didn’t always obey His law. However, they were taken from a place that at least knew the law of God to Babylon, where the law of God was not even acknowledged.
In this new land, the Hebrew children were faced with temptations, trials and persecutions, but some of the Hebrew children were not moved by the world around them. They stood their ground! They had been raised in the laws of God. They had proven God, and they knew His way to be the only way. Through the study of the Word during their youth and childhood, they matured into upright men who feared God. They feared God more than they feared being cast into a lion’s den. They feared God more than they feared being cast into a fiery furnace that had been heated seven times hotter than normal. They would not be influenced by appearances, popularity, comfort, power, etc.
They declined having the food, meats and wine of the king. They knew that these foods would only harm them over time, so they declined. They wanted their food to be pure and unadulterated. The Christian world around us has watered down the Word of God. They have added and taken away from it. They no longer practice it as the Lord intended it. They have taken the greens and veggies out and added in extra fat and sugar. What about you and I? Do we hunger for the pure Word of God? Or are we lowering our standards a little at a time? The unadulterated Word of God is what is going to keep us healthy and having a strong mind.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had proven God. They had kept His Word. They chose His commandments over those of the King. They had such a love and fear for their God that they were not persuaded by any of the things in this strange land. In essence, they were declaring, “We will not bow down before your gods. It doesn’t matter if you throw us into that fiery furnace.”
“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.” (Dan. 3:16-18)
Will we, like those three young people, stand up against the things that come against us and which serve only to separate us from the Lord? Will we stand strong, when faced with oppression and persecution? Or will we give in to the pressure of our trials and accept the practices of the world? Young people, we have got to stand strong for the Lord! He is looking for brave men and women to make up a hedge and stand in the gap for this fallen world! Will you do it? Will you BE THE ONE? †