Mike Tyson has a good quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” He said that when asked about an upcoming opponent he was to fight many years ago, when the reporter told him that his opponent said he had a plan on how to beat Tyson. While the overwhelming majority of us will never enter a boxing ring, life sometimes feels like a heavyweight fight doesn’t it? We often make plans, which isn’t a bad thing, but what happens when those plans don’t happen. Our love and devotion to God is the most tested when life is the most difficult. In today’s text we are going to see an example of this in the life of three Hebrew boys.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in chapter two of Daniel, in which God gave Daniel the interpretation. Daniel told the king that the golden head of the statue he saw in his dream represented Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. This is most likely why Nebuchadnezzar had a giant golden statue made. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that when the people heard the music playing, they were to bow down to the statue and worship it. However, Shadrach, Mishach, and Abed-nego refused to do so. After being told on, they found themselves in a face to face meeting with the king. After refusing the direct order from the king, they still refused to bow to the statue. This infuriated the king, so he ordered the furnace to be turned up as hot as it would go. He wanted them afraid, and he wanted them to suffer. He even told them that no one could save them from this, not even their God. To this the boys replied, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from our hand, o king. But if not, let it be known to you, o king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
You should read that again. They said, God can save us if He wants to, but even if He doesn’t, we still won’t compromise our faith in Him. It’s easy to have a mountaintop faith. However, the true test of our faith comes when life doesn’t go the way we expect it to. If I only love God when my life is going well, then I don’t love God for who He is; instead, I love God for what He will do for me. In this case, I have reduced God down to merely a genie in a bottle. A true love for God isn’t dependent upon me getting my way, but rather a gratefulness and a trust in who God is. As I have written and taught many times, adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals our character. Our love and trust of God must extend past our circumstances. Our love for God is evidenced in our belief that God’s plan, while it may not be our plan, His plan is always the best plan and the right plan. Sometimes, our greatest disappointments lead to our biggest blessings. As I heard a pastor say one time, “even Garth Brooks knew to thank God for unanswered prayers.”
Sometimes life isn’t going to go the way we want it to. Life can be messy and it can be painful. Is your faith in God strong enough to say, even if it all goes wrong, I will love God and trust Him to make it all right in His time?
By His grace and for His glory,