|Vol. 16 No. 4 April 2014||
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, King of the world, built a great statue of gold. On the day the statue was dedicated, the king gave an order to fall down and worship the idol when the music played. This event was so momentous that the king gathered all the governors of his empire to come pay homage to himself and his new statue. Among the witnesses of the event were three Jews by the name of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. They were given the same order as everyone else—at the sound of the music, fall down and worship the idol. The penalty for anyone’s disobedience (i.e., not worshiping the idol) was to be cast immediately into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-18).
There was a dilemma here similar to one found in Daniel 6—honor God or honor the king. Believers are to be subject to governments since they are instituted by God (Romans 13:1f), but what about when they give orders contrary to the law of God? In those cases, we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego stood boldly before the king and said, “No.” Knowing the command of the king and the punishment to follow for breaking the command, they were believers and would not violate the law of God. We, also, must boldly stand against the king and his fiery furnace when he commands us to violate the law of God.
[A fiery furnace may not await the children of God who opt to obey God rather than men when God’s laws and man’s laws collide head on. However, other inconvenient, hurtful or even catastrophic consequences may afflict God’s children when they dutifully and loyally defer in their submission to God rather than to mere mortals. While Christians should not troll for trouble, neither ought they to waver when this kind of trouble assaults them. Incidentally, just because saints cannot conscientiously conform to one or more laws that violate biblical instructions for us today, they are not excused from complying with all other laws, irrespective of whether we agree with them. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Do You Trust God?
First Samuel 17 records a challenge issued by a mountain of a man to an entire opposing army. The challenge came from Goliath of Gath, who stood six cubits and a span. A cubit is about 18 inches; this means that Goliath stood well over 9 feet tall! The dare was made to the entire army of Israel: send out your champion so that we can do battle. Morning and evening for a period of 40 days the Philistine giant defied the armies of God with no answer. When David heard this, he could not believe that no one would accept his challenge, and so accepted the challenge himself.
What gave David the courage to stand before the giant, with the confidence that he could defeat him? He trusted God. With God at his side while defending his father’s sheep, David as a shepherd had already killed a lion and a bear. David knew and understood that if God was with him, the giant, and any who defied the living God, would share the same fate as the lion and the bear. It was because of his unwavering trust in God that at the end of the day he, a youthful shepherd, the youngest of his family, stood over of body Goliath, the Philistine champion.
[Christians can do whatever God wants them to do if they rely on the strength of Jesus Christ to do it (Philippians 4:13). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Does God Really Mean What He Says?
How important is it not only to do what God has said, but to do it in the way that He has told us to do it? Another way to ask the same question is this, “Does God really mean what He says?” As you consider the answers to these questions, consider the example of Moses. In Numbers 20, the congregation of Israel began to grumble because there was no water (2-5). In this case, God told Moses to speak to the rock in order that they might have water (6-9). Note that in Exodus 17 there is a very similar account, but in that case Moses was instructed to strike the rock; however, in Numbers 20, Moses was told to speak, not to strike. Nevertheless, Moses, frustrated with the rebelliousness of the people, struck the rock and it brought forth water (10-11). Does this mean that it does not matter that Moses struck instead of speaking? Though the rock brought forth water, God was very displeased with Moses and Aaron, and He forbade them from entering the Promised Land (12). Why? “Because you did not believe in Me, to uphold Me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel…” (12). Thus, when we don’t do what God says in the way He says to do it, it demonstrates a lack of faith on our part, and our action does not honor God.
[The New Testament is the source of God’s instructions for mankind living today (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Romans 7:6-7). Questioning God’s instructions by failing to do what the New Testament teaches or implementing something in place of God’s instructions will prove eternally perilous to those immortal souls (Matthew 7:21-23; Colossians 2:23). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]