Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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 3:16-18
As influence of worldly kings and powers that defy God grew among the ancient people of Israel, many of the children of God turned to false gods and idol worship. Angered by their continued disobedience, the people lost favor with God. Conquered by the Babylonians, the Israelites were exiled to a foreign land and forced to bow down and worship the gods of their captors. The One true God, however, did not abandon His people.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob remained with His people even in a foreign land. Where His people went, there He would go too. Even in exile under a ruthless king, a remnant of the people of Israel remained faithful to the God of their ancestors. Refusing to bow to false gods, they knew and believed God would remain true to His promises to deliver His people. Through the words of the prophet, God said, “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).
In our world today there is no shortage of false gods and evil powers working against the goodness of God. The influence of these false gods is felt even among the most faithful followers of Christ Jesus. False gods such as wealth, power and political prowess lead some into a sense that they are impervious to much of what is wrong in the world. As society continues its attempt to influence the Church, the powers that defy God attempt to convince humanity that what was once called sin is now socially acceptable and pleasing. All too often, God’s people are expected to abandon their public proclamation and conform to the norms of a fallen world. Still, the people of God are called to remain faithful.
So long ago, God preserved a faithful remnant of the people of Israel and through them fulfilled His promise to redeem the world. Born in the lineage of King David, Jesus Christ came into our time and space as the child of Mary and Joseph. He lived among God’s people teaching according to the law and the prophets that we might learn from his example and strive to live a god pleasing life. Jesus gave His life as ransom for our sin and on the third day was raised from the grave so that we too might have eternal life through Him. Until that day when He comes again, the people of God are to proclaim His gospel of truth and live a life of repentance, confessing our sin and turning away from powers that lead us astray. We are to share this good news of God’s salvation and in doing so God’s promise remains true; “I will be with you.”
Loving Father, we give you thanks for your divine presence in the lives of your people. Help us to see that through your Holy Spirit, you are with us always. Give us the strength to remain faithful to your Word and bring us to everlasting life in your kingdom through Christ our Lord. Amen.