Luke 21:10-15… “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (KJV).
Persecution is coming, from political systems, from nations, and from people whose beliefs are different from yours. Our text tells us that the Lord will protect us. Settle it in your hearts; don’t try to outwit your persecutors. They are smarter than you but their knowledge is no match for the word that the Lord gives you by the Holy Spirit. We will see this in the story of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:1-30. They were told to bow and yield to another system, or die.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is very much needed today. Where there is genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be “fire.” Many nations and religions want to stamp out your faith and want to mold you in their own image. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted his kingdom to stand forever. He made an image of gold and set himself up to be worshipped. He made a decree that all men must bow before it. Those who refused to bow would be sentenced to death by fire in a furnace. The three Hebrews faced this dilemma and they had decisions to make.
They were faced with three temptations…
a) The temptation to guard their position or personal interests. They were in positions of great influence in the land (Daniel 2:49).
b) The temptation to avoid death by bowing.
c) The temptation to be like everybody else; after all, everyone was bowing.
In persecution, there is a tendency to seek the best for ourselves. However, if we want to make an impact on the persecutors, we must be different. We must be a separated people, different from everybody else around us. Christians today have forgotten the truth of separation from the world. Christians today do not really want to be that different.
We must take a stand. While everyone in Babylon was bowing, the three Hebrews were taking a stand. They refused to bow. They made up their minds that they would not bow before the king’s idol, and they stood against what was wrong and stood for that which was right (Ephesians 6:10-18). The church needs to know that there are things worth standing for and some evil things worth standing against.
We must be determined. Some of the king’s authorities were jealous of the three Hebrews and told the king (Daniel 3:8-12). The king called them on the carpet and the three Hebrews were given another chance to bow. They chose to be different from the crowd, and now they chose to be different before the king. They told the king that they would not worship the image because it violated the commands of God. The Hebrews were tired of the world’s games and they took their stand for God. The king interrogated them further (Daniel 3:13-15). The king offered them an opportunity to save face, to save their skin so to speak. Yet, the three Hebrews stood determined to stand for God. Christians, we have no reason to be ashamed of who we are.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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