There are certain Jews that you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O King, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up. Daniel 3:12 NKJV
Looking at our multifaceted society reveals that we have the freedom to express ourselves to the fullest; according to whatever we desire or enjoy doing, saying or being. The exterior body is decorated with various hair colors, hairstyles, tattoos, piercings, updated color palettes in clothing, and the list is endless. Although most employers have dress codes, the workplace is not monochromatic; take a look at the various ways that employees individualize their appearances even when uniforms are the standard. Our voices are heard through social media, news commentaries, open forums, rallies, marches, etc. It is a wonderful world. We have come to rely on the freedom to choose without experiencing direct repercussion.
For many, it is the most desirable time in earth’s history because we can set our own standards; however, our ability to live as we choose comes with a very expensive price. The declining morals, values, and ethical standards continue to plummet downward. Marriage has been devalued by the freedom to choose polygamous activities over the ill-conceived boring expectation of a monogamous relationship. Parents are required to monitor internet activities as the rate of human trafficking, sex crimes, and pedophilia plague our society. Even in biblical times, we read of subsequent generations of the Israelites (who chose to disregard God) sacrificing their children to pagan gods because they relished the freedom of choice. There is no limit to what we can and will do when the restraints on our imaginations are lifted.
God had already foreseen the decline of our society and the consequences we would face when we dared to be different as evidenced by John 15:19: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
As believers, our freedom of choice coincides with God’s standards. When we dare to be different, we will suffer repercussions, and the consequences may be severe. Are you prepared to take the stance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego? Even when faced with death and the possibility of God not delivering them from execution, they refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue. When we choose God, we are unable to follow the majority or compromise truth for error. There will come a time when each of us will face our individual fiery furnaces. Will you dare to be different? I encourage you to read Daniel 3 for preparation when you will stand before your “King Nebuchadnezzar”.
Prayer for today: Dear God, I know the time will come when I have to face my fiery furnace. Please help me to dare to be different and always choose you and truth, even if you choose not to deliver me from the consequences that I may face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Sonya Johnson Ruiz