Take Courage: Lessons from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the book, Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith.

Take Courage (cover)As we face an uncertain future, we must learn a few lessons from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

First, we must trust in God, even if we become a target. The Hebrew writer quoted from the Psalms when he wrote, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6; cf. Psalm 118:6). In reality, man can do many things to harm us. The Hebrew writer listed some of the experiences of these brethren earlier in his epistle: “But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated” (Hebrews 10:32-33). We may even have to face physical death (Revelation 2:10). But even if we are targeted and “considered as sheep to be slaughtered…we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:36-37). Even if we are singled out for persecution, we can still hope in the Lord.

Second, we must beware of “second chances” to sin, compromise, or deny the Lord. God has promised a “way of escape” for every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). But He has not promised a similar way of escape for every persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). We should not view a second chance to sin, compromise, or deny the Lord as a legitimate way to escape persecution. We must obey the Lord and stand for what is right, regardless of the consequences.

Third, we must trust in God, even if our future is uncertain. God may have the power to do something, but that does not mean that He will do it. His will is not the same as ours. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even when we pray, we must recognize that His will is what will be done (1 John 5:14-15). We must have faith in God no matter what lies ahead. The Christians in Smyrna were told that they were going to face imprisonment, tribulation, and death (Revelation 2:10). The Lord did not tell them that if they hoped and prayed fervently enough, that they could be assured of a deliverance from their persecution. Instead, they simply needed to be “faithful until death.” Sadly, some lose their faith in God when He allows them to suffer in this life. It is important to remember the basis of true faith: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Faith is not to be based upon God doing what we want Him to do. Our future is uncertain, but our faith in the Lord must be firmly anchored and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).

You can read more about the courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and others in Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!