Originally published Wednesday, 13 December 2017.
I can be defensive sometimes. I hate to admit that but it’s true. One thing that really bothers me is when someone believes something about me that is untrue. Like, you can think bad about me and if it’s true ok, I’m not all good. I get that. But to believe something about me that’s not true just makes me cringe. However, I’m getting better with this especially as I get older. As you probably already know, with age comes caring less and less what others think about you. I mean I’m 30 now, ain’t nobody got time for that! Amen?
But in addition to getting older there is another thing that has helped with my defensiveness. And this is simply letting God be my defender. It’s learning to move out of battles that were never meant for me to fight and let God do His thang like only He can do. And you know what that leads to? Peace girlfriend, P.E.A.C.E! Now peace? I got plenty of time for that and I know you do too.
So in this week’s study, we see Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego use this same lesson while facing their struggle. They teach us to move aside in faith and let God fight our battles. No more battling the enemy on our own.
The second lesson we learn from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s response to King Nebuchadnezzar about standing firm when the struggle is real is the importance of knowing that God is our defender. The first thing they say to King Nebuchadnezzar that we read in Daniel 3:16 is this:
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
Now King Nebuchadnezzar was already upset, right? Can you imagine how much more upset he was after hearing this response? He asks them who will deliver them from his hand and their response is pretty much, we don’t even feel obligated to answer your question on this matter. Because when it comes to matters of their faith and who they ultimately bow down to worship they only answer to One God and it ain’t Nebuchadnezzar.
But what I think they are really saying here is not that king Nebuchadnezzar did not deserve an answer but that their God would answer for them, that they did not need to defend their God or themselves because they thoroughly trusted that God was their ultimate protector and defender. And this is an important reminder because Nebuchadnezzar is essentially trying to intimidate them to do what he wants them to do. And had their faith not been solely in God’s ability to protect and defend them, Nebuchadnezzar’s intimidation tactics might have worked. He might have been successful at scaring them into worshiping this false idol.
And that leads me to question how many idols we worship simply out of fear and intimidation? Is the enemy luring us to worship some idol, is he taking advantage of our fear that things might not go our way and push us into trying to take matters into our own hands instead of trusting God?
This reminds me of the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations but as he got older and older they had not had even one child. Sarah had enough waiting on God to deliver on his promise, so she takes matters into her own hands and tells her maidservant to sleep with Abraham so he can have an heir. If you imagined that the entire situation did not turn out well you would be correct. Drama for dayz ok? And as crazy as Sarah’s plan sounds on paper guess what? When we don’t trust that God is our defender we do some crazy stuff too. But at the time it does not seem crazy to us, we’re simply trying to alleviate the pressures and anxiety that come when things don’t go our way, when the struggle gets real and we start to doubt if God will really be there to defend us from this fire.
While we were dating in college, my now husband was studying computer engineering. At the time my computer broke when I was away at home on one of our breaks. I became anxious and fearful because all my school work and personal documents were on this computer and I did not have them back up anywhere else. So instead of waiting until I got back to school to have my husband look at my computer I fearfully rushed to a computer store to see if they could fix it. Long story short I ended up paying $300 for them to tell me they could not fix my computer.
When I got back to school and told my husband he was upset that I wasted that money instead of just waiting on him and frankly I was mad at myself too. But then he proceeded to do what the computer store could not do and fixed my computer for free. I paid $300 because I did not want to wait a few more days because I was fearful.
There is always a high price to pay when we don’t trust our God even when life seems out of order and that price yields no profit to our lives. It’s important to remember even when our life is out of control and the struggle is real our God is still in control. We might not always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen in our lives, but we can always trust our God. Understanding is not a prerequisite to trusting our God. We can always trust in the truth of our God and that truth is He can and will defend us.
And when we trust our God, we do not need to fear our enemy. When we trust God we do not have to take matters into our own hands. To remain unshaken when the struggle gets real we must know with all our hearts that God is not going to leave us hanging, and as much as the enemy will throw it in our face we do not answer to the enemy, we answer to our God. The enemy hisses in your ear:
“Didn’t get pregnant this month, what are you going to do about it?
“Still haven’t got a job yet, how are you going to pay your bills?”
“All your friends are married but you, what’s your family going to think about you?”
“Another rejection? Do you really think you will be able to accomplish that dream?”
See the enemy wants you completely distracted thinking about your problems that you forget about your God. Like Nebuchadnezzar, he wants to know what you will do if things don’t turn out as you hoped. Because here’s the thing, the enemy thinks your relationship with God is superficial at best and completely hypocritical at worse.
But we need to let the enemy know we don’t have to answer any of his questions because our God answers for us and He’s spoken over our life and He’s given us purpose, a plan and destiny. We need to tell the enemy to take his questions to our God. We do not need to defend ourselves from the enemy. God is our defender. It’s time we stop holding conversations with the enemy and start allowing God’s truth to speak over our lives.
And when we do that, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we can boldly proclaim what they did in Daniel 3:17:
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 3:17 NIV
Yes our God can deliver, and oh yes He will Beloved.
You know the deal! Let’s keep this conversation going! Comment and let me know, are you more prone to run into a fight or run the other way? I can’t wait to chat with you!
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