DayBreaks for 4/27/17 – The Real Danger
Note: Galen is traveling this week.
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:
As a child, I was fascinated by the story of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego. My mind would swim with images and imaginings of what it looked like, of the sounds of the roaring furnace, of the great king Nebuchadnezzar in all his finery as the music blared and the masses bowed down. That is, they bowed down with the exception of three people: the Hebrew boys otherwise known as Azariah, Mishael and Hananiah.
I always thought that this was a story about idolatry. I’d always thought that the temptation they faced was to worship the golden idol of the Babylonian king. After all, that’s how I remember the story from the flannel graphs that my Sunday school teacher used to help us “see” the stories. It is only recently that I believe God opened my eyes to a more significant truth. The story is about idolatry, all right, but the idol that the young men were being tempted to worship wasn’t really the 90-foot tall golden sculpture.
No, the real test was one about worship. What would be worshipped? They’d been taught as Jewish children that “the Lord our God is One” and that “No one is like the Lord our God.” They knew full well that He was the only One who was worthy of worship. The idol that these boys were confronted with – and which they were tempted to bow down and worship – was themselves, their earthly lives. If they worshipped the idol, they’d save their lives – if they didn’t, they might lose their lives.
Would these three young men be wise enough to recognize which was the greater danger: to die in a fiery furnace, or to worship and esteem something else (even if it is your physical life) higher than the worship of God is idolatry?
We are our own greatest idol. We need to cast aside the idol of self that leads us to hoard money, love, compassion, wisdom, possessions, pleasures. Even if it comes to laying down our lives in order to worship God, doesn’t God have a right to ask that of us? Of course He does.
Do you recognize your own self-worship and idolatry? Every time we choose our way, our dreams, our own joys rather than His, we are bowing down to the idol of self-worship.
PRAYER: Father, help us to recognize our idolatry and our self worship. Give us the wisdom to be able to discern the greatest danger – the danger of not giving you the worship and glory that you alone deserve. Tear down our idols of self-interest that we may be true worshippers! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.