This last weekend our church held their annual houseparty, just over the valley from our home. As usual, it was a great time of learning and fun, friendship and love. But learning from the book of Daniel was hard going.
I was challenged by our speaker to think about idols. In bible times, idols were statues made of metal, clay or wood. They distracted people from the true God but filled their need to worship something. I’ve never bowed down to a statue, but all too often I’m metaphorically bowing down to something I’ve put between me and God. A person I love, an activity I enjoy, a possession I must have to make my life complete. In the book of Daniel, we see the famous story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzer’s massive gold image. They drew a line, and would not cross it. Never mind that the threat of doing so was to be burned alive in a furnace. They didn’t cross the line, and were thrown into the furnace, where, incidentally, God miraculously rescued them. But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t know how that would end when they drew the line.
All of which makes us wonder what lines I’m prepared to draw, and stick to? What am I prepared to give up, because it is taking God’s place in my life? I’ve given up a lot of possessions already, but most of those didn’t hurt to give up. I talked about it a bit here.
And as I think more about society, God-worship, and the ever-growing threat of persecution, I wonder how strongly I can stick to the line I draw? Can I face being ostracised and discriminated against, or even prison, torture, or death for the sake of knowing Jesus? I certainly hope so, because I don’t plan to turn away from Him at any time in my future.