What if you could somehow restore America? Imagine what that would be like.
No more crazy new laws from the Supreme Court telling churches and bakeries how to operate.
No more racial tension in your neighborhood.
No more threats and attacks from ISIS.
No more worrying about what your kids are watching on TV or learning at school.
No more locking your windows and doors at night.
Would you like that? Would you like to have things the way they used to be? What if you could have it all tomorrow, but without Jesus? Would you still take it?
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were separated from their families and forced to live in Babylon. Their new ruler did not fear God. He was more of a fan of his own god. So much so that he made a 90-foot tall statue of it and commanded everyone to bow.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not.
But they didn’t remain standing because this new god they were being told to worship was different from some other god from the good old days. They didn’t bow because this god wasn’t the God.
There are a variety of 90-foot idols that we are prone to bow and worship.
Some of them look like Nebuchadnezzar. Some of them are painted in rainbow colors. And some of them look like they were taken straight out of the good old days. The days before gay marriage and race riots and terrorist attacks. An idol doesn’t have to be mean, ugly or perverted for it to be an idol. Religious and moral idols are just as dangerous.
If you’ve grown up in the church, you know the rest of the story. Nebuchadnezzar throws the three boys into a burning fiery furnace to punish them for their refusal to bow. After carrying out the execution, the king notices something unusual. The three boys are walking around in the furnace. And they are walking around with another person. That other person was Jesus.
And then comes the most striking moment from this account.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. Daniel 3:26 (ESV)
The three boys were in a death chamber that was filled with fire. But they had to be told to come out. If I’m in 90 degree heat for more than an hour, I’m ready to get out of it. These boys were in a furnace and didn’t leave it until they were told to. How is that?
Because they were with Jesus.
Jesus never promised that we wouldn’t find ourselves in a burning death chamber. But he did promise that he would be with us.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew something that we too often forget. It’s better to be on death row with Jesus than to be in a palace without him.
I’d love to see America unified again.
I’d love to see the racial tension go away.
I’d love it if the terrorists left us alone for good.
And I’d love it if the Church could carry on with being the Church without interference from the State.
But not without Jesus.
Christian, if one day you lose it all and you find yourself walking through the rubble of your former country on your way to a fiery furnace, take heart.
Jesus is with you.
And he is all you need.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)