That’s a lot of people inside my head but don’t worry because the title is a little misleading. A more accurate title for this post would be, I Wish I Was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. For those not familiar with my “I Am _____” series, this is usually the part where I add the disclaimer about me knowing that my name is really Dave followed by something that eludes to the fact that while I may be Dave I am still Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or whomever the title suggests I might be. This time is different. This time I can only wish I was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
I am Peter more than I am Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
If you know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you know that they were faced with certain death if they did not bow to the gods of the land. Their willingness to go against the king even if it meant death is already a character trait that makes me says, “I wish I was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” I would like to think I would be willing to give up my life in this way but when faced with death I am more likely to be the Peter at Jesus’ trial than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
There is a certainty in what they said that I wish was part of my faith.
It isn’t just that they were willing to die, that makes me want to be Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It isn’t just that they went against the king’s order even though they were threatened with death. I wish I was like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because of what they said. “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. Daniel 3:16-17 (NIV)
This is what the comic books call a crossover.
Their strong faith that God not only could but that God would do the miraculous is what is often missing from my prayers and public declarations. The promise that the Holy S***** (a bad word in many people’s churches) would clothe us with power, the promise that signs and wonders would follow those who believe and the promise that we can ask in Jesus’ name and receive is all but gone from my faith walk. As I have said before, it could be based on my fear of being let down or the watered down teachings about a God who has a plan and anything I pray is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter why I believe that God will not act, that the Holy Sp**** will not perform miraculous works that point toward the creator of the universe, all that matters is that I am unable to speak with the same boldness that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did.
I know there is more.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego continued, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:18 (NIV) It is so easy to use this last part to support my often watered down doctrines. I can cling to the idea that God most likely won’t step in when I pray. I can say this story was a rare display of God’s power and that even they knew that it most likely wouldn’t happen even though it did. This becomes an excuse to weaken my prayers and my faith that God will act.
They were convinced that God would save them.
I was not there and I am not Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego but I do believe that the final statement they made, “But even if he does not…” was not them hedging their bets. I do not believe that they were laying out their beliefs with an exit strategy just in case God did not act. I will go out on a limb, take a chance that great biblical scholars will correct me. I will add my interpretation to this part of scripture fully aware that I may have it wrong.
Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego added the line “But even if he does not…” to show that their faith was not based on the fact that God would save them but rather their faith was placed in God no matter what, not a god but The God.
Holy Spi*** is power for those who believe.
The Holy Spir** promised by God, God’s Spiri*, has the same power to do the miraculous that was exhibited when the three did not die in the fiery furnace. The prayers we pray have power and the answers God gives are perfection in the same way. We can count on the Holy Spirit being treated as a bad word and the belief that God still performs miracles through that same Spirit being ignored because it is easier to not take the chance that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did and say God will act.
I believe, the God we serve is able to deliver, and He will deliver us. Even if He doesn’t, I still believe because He is God.
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