“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold [and] set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon… Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.’ Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound, [they] fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego 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 3:1,3-7,16-18
The pressure was great in this country of exile. Already these Jewish men were different from those of Babylon, standing out in the way they lived, refusing rich food and drink, and now they were commanded to bow down to worship a false god. Disobedience could mean certain, agonizing death, but they knew the true God and would serve Him only. (Daniel 1:5,7-8)
Facing the pressures of our culture today is no easy way of life, but is increasingly the norm. The little gods of exacerbated sensitivity to words, acceptable thought, approval of others, material expectations, urges of the flesh, celebration of sin, vie for our allegiance every day, and unless we are fixed ahead of time, we will cave and bow.
We might think, ‘I would never bend the knee to a ninety-foot high golden statue,’ but where do I go along with dishonesties, unbiblical life choices, crass joking? Are there behaviors and opinions to which I wink my eye and fail to speak up? Does my silence in conversations about end of life decisions, gossip within the church, catty putting down of others, place me alongside those bowing on the plain to the security of ‘group think,’ the fear of being ostracized? Where am I inclined to give in to the pressure of keeping up with others in any fashion– experience, the newest whatever, trying out for fun what I know may be for me a slippery slope?
Paul urged the Ephesians to be clad in God’s full armor so they could withstand the devil’s wiles and stand. Am I deliberate to fit it on every day? (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Father, may my desire to please You always be stronger than my inclination to please man. You are the One worthy of my standing up, standing out, and standing at all.