Thursday, November 12, 2020

Bending Your Knee To Your Culture

Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?’ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your 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.’” —Daniel 3:13-18

As you know, Israel had been taken captive and many of the people had been taken back to Babylon. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were among them, as was Daniel (the lion’s den guy).  There were cultural practices that everyone was expected to comply with. One was, at a certain time during the day to bow down before a golden image and worship it.  So there was a problem for the Jews.  Jehovah God had said explicitly that they were not to do that.

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;  you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” – Exodus 20:3-6

They were faced with cultural demands to go along and get along, even when it was contrary to what God had made explicitly clear not to do.  It is not different than the struggles Christians face wherever they might live in the world.  Every culture – following its natural bent, free from submission to a holy God – does and believes what it considers to be right and appropriate.  There is some overlap where what that culture believes or practices is the same as what the Word of God says is right and appropriate – God-honoring behavior. But that is not what was happening with those three men – they were being told to abandon their faith in favor of compliance with what the culture said was right and good.  Each of us faces that challenge every day.  Since our culture, in general, has drifted away from Biblical principals as the rule for right living and defining what good is – there is greater pressure on Christians to bend their knees. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego would not, even to their peril; and we must not even at our own peril but for the glory of God. In their case, their hope was that they would be saved from bad consequences (death in the furnace), but even in the face of that possibility, they would not deny their God. For many Christians, they are asked to compromise their faith for cultural acceptance – friendship – even marriage perhaps. 

I am hoping you can see my point.  Don’t read the Bible or listen to the Word preached through a cultural filter. Satan asked Eve, “Did God really say?” to plant doubt that what God said was right and clear. Why couldn’t they redefine what “right” was. Well, they did and were cast – not in a furnace – but out of the Garden. There may be some things that our culture says is right that is contrary to the Word of God that you have embraced.  I want you to encourage you to reconsider those things.  Like Lot’s wife who looked back to Sodom longing for what she had left behind sinned, we too sin when we reject what the Word makes clear and bend our knees to the demands of the culture that are contrary to God’s Word.  (in light of the recent election – I want to add this has nothing to do with politics – this problem is on both sides of the aisle”)

“…. to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17

Let your light shine before all men!

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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