DayBreaks for 5/17/17: The Immanent or the Greater
Thanks to some writing by Mark Labberton, I’ve been fascinated again with the childhood story of Shadrach, Mescheh and Abednego. I shared some insights in a DayBreaks before, but here’s one a friend had that I think is worth sharing.
I wrote before about how these young men had to discern the real danger when confronted with the choice of worshipping the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had built. They had to decide for themselves if the greatest danger was in bowing down and worshipping the idol or in not worshipping the real and living God.
As Hebrews, these three had been well versed in the 10 commandments, and I’m sure, could easily recite them by heart. So, for them to truly be tempted to worship an idol, well, it probably wasn’t really a temptation for them at all. Saving their lives might have been a temptation, but they certainly knew it was wrong to worship an idol. But, here’s the thing: they believed that worshipping anything other than Yahweh was a greater risk and danger than worshipping the idol, however sometimes the immediate or immanent danger seems greater than the far off danger. Even though they knew what was right and wrong, and they knew in their hearts that failure to be true to Yahweh was the greater danger, the heat from the fire was pressing against their skin, making itself felt RIGHT NOW, and the danger from not worshipping Yahweh probably seemed a long way off.
We are often tempted to compromise for a couple of reasons: we want immediate pleasure rather than delayed gratification, or we want to avoid the immediacy of pain and suffering. The latter is just as dangerous as the first – and both can be deadly.
Is there some immediate suffering that you can foresee in your life that you’ve been wrestling with and trying to avoid by some compromise? Are you thinking that you can set the record straight with God at some later point? That’s very dangerous reasoning. Remember the words of the writer to the Hebrews: (Hebrews 10:31, NLT) It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
PRAYER: In our foolishness, Lord, we often forget that it may be better to suffer now than to fall into Your hands later. Give us courage and open our eyes to understand that just because one kind of suffering may be more immediate, that it doesn’t mean it is the greatest suffering we could encounter. Let us have no other gods before You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.