Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Toast to Obedience

[King Nebuchadnezzar said], “Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?"

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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. 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." (Daniel 3:15-18)

In the verses above, three men refuse to disobey God’s first commandment: “You shall have no other god besides me.” They did not know whether God would miraculously deliver them or not. They knew he could, but they did not know that he would. For all they knew, they were about to be toast.

Obedience to God generally yields a healthy, balanced, and ethical life. This is why so many people who do not even remember the Ten Commandments generally speak well of them. But the very first commandment – have no other gods – reminds us that obedience is first of all meant to yield a worshipful life.

If we wish to obey God when it will yield blessing, we must also be ready to obey God when it will bring forth trial – even a fiery trial. And the only way to be ready is to live a life of worship, to make sure the first commandment really is first in our hearts.


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