Today’s reading is the famous story of the three Hebrews and their unflinching faithfulness to God in the midst of an imminent threat of death in the fiery furnace. Most people have heard this story and it is often told in very simplistic terms. However, the principle of steadfast faithfulness in the midst of great personal threat is so pertinent to our present culture and the new of current times, that the words from today’s reading seemed to leap off of the page as I read them.
I like a paragraph from today’s reading of D. A. Carson’s devotional,
Observe: (a) Their basic courtesy and respect are undiminished, however bold their words. (b) They are completely unwilling to apologize for their stance. The wise believer never apologizes for God or for any of his attributes. (c) They do not doubt God’s ability to save them, and they say so: God is not hostage to other gods, or to human beings, emperors or otherwise. (d) But whether or not God will save them they cannot know—and the point is immaterial to their resolve. Faithfulness is not dependent upon an escape hatch. They choose faithfulness because it is the right thing to do, even if it costs them their lives.1
Personal persecution is very limited today in our country, but it seems like the potential is rising for it to become increasingly more as the days go by. Do I have the backbone to stand faithfully to any tests that I face in the future? It is a sobering and pertinent question to ask myself.
1 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).