Scripture Reading: Daniel 3:16-18
The firm resolution that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took not to worship other gods even if God decides not to save them is a challenge to the faith of many believers today. Their faith demonstrated a resolute submission to the Sovereignty of God. It is an unconditional trust in the judgment of God. It is an insistence that God’s word must prevail, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bowr down to them or worship them…,” (Exodus 20:4-5).
Against the danger of death, against the command of lawful authority, against the trend of the time, against the pressures and opinions of majority and the crowd, they refused to compromise the word of God. They refused to deny their God, refused to be ashamed to profess their faith in the God of Israel. They refused to sacrifice their faith at the altar of comfort and pressure. They disobeyed the instruction that contradicts God’s word! They stood their grounds for the Lord, when others were bowing out and saw reasons to accommodate sin in order to get ‘better life’. In the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar they preferred death (martyrdom) rather than living in sin in a strange land. They desired martyrdom. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were grounded on the understanding that God can save them not only from death, but also in death, so they weren’t afraid what mortal man would do to them. As the bible says in Luke 12:4 “I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” Their faith was not conditional and limited, it was total; “If we are throw n into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he docs not, we w ant you to know’, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Dear friends in Christ, at baptism we made a sacred vow to “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises”. At various religious services, we have professed Jesus as our Lord and personal Saviour, declaring love and obedience to Him, to live for Him alone. Child of God, have you compromised the standard of your faith? Have you bowed down to the devil for the comfort of a good job? Have you worshiped other gods at various ‘prayer places’ for the sake of fruit of the womb? Have you knelt down before satanic altars for the sake of protection and prosperity? Have you sacrificed the sanctity of your faith at the altar of political and social acceptance? Have you given up your faith in order to keep your education, position and job? Have you disregarded the faith for the sake of sinful gain? There is a lot of compromise today, a lot of us are betraying Jesus, and believers are becoming more accommodative of sin and comfortable with evil. Martyrdom is a forgotten story; suffering or dying for Jesus is considered as foolishness even among Christians. We have forgotten that a compromised faith has lost its integrity and sanctity. We have erroneously learned to practise faith only when it is convenient.
Dear friend, if there is hope that we can still stand for God, “it is not in politicians who indifferent to divinity offer Christ to the mob to save their tumbling suffrage. Not in economists who will drive Christ from their shores like the Gerasenes because of their fear of loss of profits on their swine. Not in educators who like Pilate sneer, what is truth- then crucify it. The hope of the world is on Christ crucified on the cross. It is on those who following the example of Christ will take up their cross in the footstep of the master. ’’(Fulton Sheen). God is looking for the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in our time. He is looking for Christians who will not compromise, for disciples who are not ashamed to confess Him even in the danger of death.
1. Thank God for this faith challenging reflection of today.
2. Pray for pardon for the times you may have compromised the faith.
3. Prayer for the Grace of Martyrdom.
4. Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs triumphed over suffering and was faithful unto death: strengthen us with your grace, that we may endure reproach and persecution and faithfully bear witness to the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
5. Pray for all Users of Daily Strength that the grace to hold on to the faith in the Church abound in them.
Exercise: Take the prayer of St. Pio (Section A) for God to strengthen those who are losing faith.