Living By Faith. 04/05/2014 (Evening thought)

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This passage of scripture tells us how a relationship with God works, by believing every word that He gives us and living by them. In other words, our lives and the decisions we make, together with the consequent actions should all be molded by what is written in the scriptures. Before making any move we should consult the word of God to ascertain whether or not we would be walking contrary to His instructions. By so doing, bringing the scriptures to bear on every aspect of our lives, we walk by faith and not by sight.

However, this mode of thought and action does not always guarantee that every experience in life will be smooth as a result. On the contrary, many of God's instructions and laws often put the sincere Christian at odds with what is considered to be the norm by the majority, and that's why true Christianity will never ever be popular with the masses, and so, those who tend to live by  the "status quo" will find it difficult to follow God except there is a radical change in their thought processes, namely conversion.

This is what Daniel's companions found out whilst being captives of the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had just finished building a gigantic golden statue in defiance of the dream God had given him, and thus he commanded all of the officers of his government to bow down to the graven image as a sign of homage to the king. However this command to worship a graven image put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego at odds with God's commandment which explicitly forbids such worship under any circumstances, and so their decision not to bow down came at a hefty price. Let's read:

Daniel 3:3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.  4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,  5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:  6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.  16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

This mode of thought and action is the motto the true Christian should live by. In other words, death before dishonor, and a willingness to even forfeit one's life for the sake of the truth is what living by faith means in reality. In circumstances like these, when following God's commands puts our very lives at risk, we should trust God for the outcome, for our lives are in His hands. However it is worthy of note that in their response to the king, the three Hebrews did not stand firmly for the right merely because of a guarantee from God that they would not lose their lives. They stood firmly for the right because it is right.

The results of their steadfast adherence to right principles shows us the arena in which the power of God is displayed, for our extremity is God's opportunity to deliver in a major way that will convince others that there is a God in heaven. Let's read:

Daniel 3:4 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.  25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.  28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.  29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

At one point in my life I found myself in desperate need of a job, and so after making several applications, I was finally called in for an interview on a Friday morning with a well established business. After doing the interview and being offered the job, I then stated to the employer that I would not be able to work on Saturdays because it is God's holy day of rest, set aside for worship, praise, and thanksgiving, in fellowship with other like-minded believers. On hearing this a look of utter disappointment  came over the face of my employer who then said that he could not employ me since Saturday was their busiest day. I then respectfully left his office, even though I was in dire need of employment, a decision that may seem stupid to the average person.

However, something strange happened. The following Monday the same employer called me early in the morning and said that he had thought the whole thing over, and had decided to give me the job with Saturdays off, for he himself had known about the sabbath commandment, being a Jew.

The Christian in our day who only chooses the right when favorable outcomes can be guaranteed will be made the sport of circumstances, for when difficulties and dangers arise because of the truth, they would be offended sooner or later. We therefore end with a text that reminds us that the great God of heaven still rules in the affairs of men. Let's read:

2nd Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him".....

We hope that our brief presentation would serve to encourage everyone to be faithful to principle by standing for the right though the heavens fall. "Good night " and God bless!