Most of us don’t really like standing out…even when it is standing out for what is right. I think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. Here are three guys who, along with all the leaders of Babylon, are asked to bow down to an idol. King Nebuchadnezzar made it pretty clear that whoever didn’t bow down to the statue when the music started playing would be burned alive in the furnace. These guys knew the consequences, but as everyone around them fell to their faces before the statue, they quite literally stood out! I think it would have been easy to justify bowing down in my mind—everyone else is doing it…I don’t have to really mean it in my heart…what good am I for the kingdom of God if I’m dead!—but they didn’t. Can you imagine saying this to anyone, much less the insane, self-absorbed King who holds your life in his hands?
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Now, there’s some boldness! God rewarded them for standing out by sparing their lives, and raising them to even higher positions of prominence in the Kingdom.
Someone had this picture posted on Facebook today.
This picture was taken in Hamburg in 1936. The guy’s name is August Landmesser. When everyone else was giving the Nazi salute, he refused. He was married to a Jewish woman. How easy it would have been to fit in to the crowd. Yet he chose to stand out. It was the right thing to do.
Submission is not a dirty word. All men submit. We do have the opportunity to choose who we submit to though: will we submit to the negative influence of peers and corrupt leaders or to the authority of the Holy Spirit in our lives? I pray that your life will be so aligned with the Holy Spirit’s leading that people won’t be able to help but wonder what makes you different! I pray that when the temptations of peer pressure come along, you will think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…and August Landmesser. Let God steer your ship, don’t hand the wheel over to anyone else!
picture and accompanying story are taken via senri no michi facebook page