Whose Side Are You On?

Daniel 3:17-18 (ESV)

17 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. 18 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.”


We are probably familiar with the story of the Alamo. The 189 Texans held out for thirteen days against the Mexican army of 5000. The night before the Texans were overrun William Travis drew the famous line in the sand and asked them to cross if they would stay and fight. Almost all of the men stayed knowing that they were paying the ultimate price by showing whose side they were on.


We talk a lot about standing up for our faith, and we should stand. Sometimes, though, we forget that there may be severe consequences when we do, at least in the short-term. The men at the Alamo endured extreme consequences to their choice. Daniel’s three Hebrew friends were also willing to endure severe consequences in their refusal to bow to the king’s golden idol.


Herbert Schlossberg, in his book, Idols for Destruction, observed: “Western society, in turning away from the Christian faith, has turned to other things. This process is commonly called ‘secularization,’ but that conveys only the negative aspect. The word connotes the ‘turning away from the worship of God while ignoring the fact that something is being turned to in its place.”


It seems obvious that King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to replace the Hebrews’ worship of God with the worship of his golden image.


It is extremely important that we identify the God (or gods) that we worship. We become like what or whom we worship! Hosea 9:10c (ESV) warns:

But they came to Baal-peor
   and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
   and became detestable like the thing they loved.


Why did the Pilgrims eventually emigrate from England to America? They wanted religious freedom and more. They wanted to be like the God they worshiped. They wanted to advance Christian faith by laying themselves down as stepping stones to future generations and peoples. They were willing to endure hardships for that cause JUST LIKE Jesus.


It seems obvious that in our nation we are surrounded by idols and false gods. These have taken the place of the living God. As people worship idols, they become like them. Why is there hate and violence? Because the gods people worship are hate-filled and violent!


Adrian Rogers gave this definition:

An idol is anything you love more, fear more, value more or serve more than you do Almighty God. Fill in the blank.


Is our government much different from ancient Babylon? Our government leaders were once steeped in the Bible so that they served the nation in the sight of God and in the manner of God. Today it seems that government is trying to become a god. If that is true, what steps do we take to preserve faith in the true God?


In Daniel 3 the three Hebrew boys faced the dilemma of worshiping the government’s idol or dying. What would they do? In reading the account you know that they chose to cross the line and show whose side they were on. They chose to go into the furnace rather than worship an ungodly idol.


In Daniel 3:17-18 they declared:

17 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. 18 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.”


It seems that too many Christians today prefer putting off God’s will for another day. It’s easy to do but what happens in the interim? Instead of advancing the kingdom of God, we let it struggle and the Evil Empire advances.


What would happen if Christians intently studied the Bible and could easily discern right from wrong? What would happen if Christians would stop being complicit to the evils in our world by silence and resist evil? What would happen to:

    • Abortions?
    • Human trafficking?
    • Slavery?
    • Evil in government?
    • . . . .?


What would happen if Christians would get involved in the political system instead of running from it? What if we start exercising the power of the vote to hold our representatives (not our bosses) accountable or replace them? Do you think things would change?


Government is not to be worshiped. Government is not to decide who, what, when, where, or how we worship. Churches are not “non-essentials” that we can take or leave.


When Daniel’s friends withstood the temptation to bow to the idol life became difficult. The king was angry, gave them another chance, but eventually cast them into the fire. God did protect them. As a result, they were saved and King Nebuchadnezzar made the following astounding declaration in Daniel 3:28-30 (ESV):

28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were saved from the fire and promoted by the king. Instead of opposing God, the king honored Him!


Will that happen every time? We know it doesn’t. There have been martyrs for God in every era. Yet, there comes a time to notify all concerned where and with whom we stand – regardless what happens. Where do you stand? Are you willing to cross the line in the sand?