Stand Firm, We Have The Victory
Published by Deborah Negron M.A.
In the third year of the rule of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and attacked it. The Lord handed Judah’s King Jehoiakim over to Nebuchadnezzar, along with some of the equipment from God’s house. Nebuchadnezzar took these to Shinar, to his own god’s temple, putting them in his god’s treasury. Nebuchadnezzar instructed his highest official Ashpenaz to choose royal descendants and members of the ruling class from the Israelites— good-looking young men without defects, skilled in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, conversant with learning, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. Ashpenaz was to teach them the Chaldean language and its literature. The king assigned these young men daily allotments from his own food and from the royal wine. Ashpenaz was to teach them for three years so that at the end of that time they could serve before the king. Among these young men from the Judeans were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But the chief official gave them new names. He named Daniel “Belteshazzar,” Hananiah “Shadrach,” Mishael “Meshach,” and Azariah “Abednego.” Daniel decided that he wouldn’t pollute himself with the king’s rations or the royal wine, and he appealed to the chief official in hopes that he wouldn’t have to do so. Now God had established faithful loyalty between Daniel and the chief official;
Daniel 1:1-9 CEB
So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
Romans 12:1-2 CEB
Don’t rock the boat…
Just go with the flow…
You have to be open minded.
Just go with it…
Don’t ruffle feathers…
Don’t be too preachy…
No one likes a goody two shoes…
You have to be a team player…
You got to give a little to get a little…
The list goes on. We are asked to compromise in everything. In this world the ones tha succeed are the ones that bend easily.
How contrary to God’s word.
The Bible tells us that God is not a human bring tha he should lie. He is not limited by the status quo. He is not trying to fit in some earthly mold in order to gain ground.
The Lord created us with a purpose and a specific reason.
See here what he states through the prophet Issaiah,
“My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD . Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans. so is my word that comes from my mouth; it does not return to me empty. Instead, it does what I want, and accomplishes what I intend.” Isaiah 55:8-9, 11 CEB
In Jeremiah 29:11 we also read,
“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD ; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the LORD , and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 CEB
Daniel and his friends were taken captive. They were bought to a new land and a new culture was pushed on them.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were even given new names, as if to coerce them to take on a whole new identity. But they decided not to conform to their surroundings.
They decided not to follow the flow. They decided not to take part in the pleasures of sin for a season. They did not even eat, that is consume what they were given in abundance.
The enemy wants to change our identity.
He wants to impress on us the ideologies of men. His desire is to have us conform and change our beliefs.
Today, they call it being politically correct. Being agreeable, as it were.
These young men rejected the pressure. They combated with the idea of being forced to be like every one else.
They were presented with the best of the best of the kings provisions. But they did not surrender to the pressures.
They understood their position.
They did no go with the flow. They did not follow the crowd.
They objective was clear. We are children of the living God. Even when they were tossed in the fiery furnace, they did not conform. Even when they were threatened with death, their response was clear and steady.
In Danirl three, we see these same young men being plotted against. They were known as the jewish boys who did not adhere to the king’s commands to bow down and worship a statue the king had built.
If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us. But if he doesn’t, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you’ve set up.” Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and his face twisted beyond recognition because of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In response he commanded that the furnace be heated to seven times its normal heat. He told some of the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of flaming fire. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound, still dressed in all their clothes, and thrown into the furnace of flaming fire. ( Now the king’s command had been rash, and the furnace was heated to such an extreme that the fire’s flame killed the very men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it.) So these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell, bound, into the furnace of flaming fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in shock and said to his associates, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?” They answered the king, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He replied, “Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around inside the fire, and they aren’t hurt! And the fourth one looks like one of the gods.”
Daniel 3:17-25 CEB
These boys had decided long before that day, that they would not contaminate themselves. They decided to remain faithful to their God. The God of Israel. They knew that all the time that had passed and all the ways in which the society around them had tried to change their identity had not changed who they were.
They decided to remain children of God in the midst of this strange land.
We are living in perilous times. These are some dangerous days we are in. From political views to radical beliefs we are pulled on every side.
But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has not changed. The God who saw Daniel and his friends and met them in the fiery furnace in the midst of the their calamity, is still the one who is able to se us through the trias of this life.
In this world you will have trouble.
In the book of John he told his disciples,
Jesus replied, “ Now you believe? Look! A time is coming—and is here!—when each of you will be scattered to your own homes and you will leave me alone. I’m not really alone, for the Father is with me. I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world. ”
John 16:31-33 CEB
On the cross Jesus conquered sin and death. In he tomb, he was buried so we could bury our sins as well. On Resurrection day, He rose up to give us Eternal Life.
He chose us. He made a way for us to be saved from the punishment of sin.
We can decide not to be conformed to this world and to follow Jesus in the midst of these trying times.
We do not have to follow the flow of society.
We do not have to change who He has made us to be.
Christ has given us the power to stand against the pressures we may face.
Yes we will be the odd ball in the crowd. Yes we will be the ones doing the right things. Yes we will stand for justice and freedom. Yes we will say no to Abortion. We will not stand with those that take God’sname in vain. We will not conform to the pressures of this age.
We will follow Jesus.
His truth is our salvation.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff— they protect me. You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the LORD ’s house as long as I live.
Psalms 23:4-6 CEB
We keep our eyes fixed on the one who has set us free. The captivity of sin has no power over us. Christ has won the victory.
Eternity is our point of reference.
But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham offered Isaac when he was tested. The one who received the promises was offering his only son. He had been told concerning him, “ Your legitimate descendants will come from Isaac. ” He figured that God could even raise him from the dead. So in a way he did receive him back from the dead. By faith Isaac also blessed Jacob and Esau concerning their future. By faith Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons as he was dying and “ bowed in worship over the head of his staff. ” By faith Joseph recalled the exodus of the Israelites at the end of his life, and gave instructions about burying his bones. By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months when he was born, because they saw that the child was beautiful and they weren’t afraid of the king’s orders. By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter when he was grown up. He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the temporary pleasures of sin. He thought that the abuses he suffered for Christ were more valuable than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking forward to the reward. By faith he left Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. He kept on going as if he could see what is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, in order that the destroyer could not touch their firstborn children. By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if they were on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were drowned. By faith Jericho’s walls fell after the people marched around them for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute wasn’t killed with the disobedient because she welcomed the spies in peace. What more can I say? I would run out of time if I told you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, put out raging fires, escaped from the edge of the sword, found strength in weakness, were mighty in war, and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured and refused to be released so they could gain a better resurrection. But others experienced public shame by being taunted and whipped; they were even put in chains and in prison. They were stoned to death, they were cut in two, and they died by being murdered with swords. They went around wearing the skins of sheep and goats, needy, oppressed, and mistreated. The world didn’t deserve them. They wandered around in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground. All these people didn’t receive what was promised, though they were given approval for their faith. God provided something better for us so they wouldn’t be made perfect without us.
Hebrews 11:16-40 CEB
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
Matthew 5:3-14 RSV-CI
We can choose to Follow the Lord regardless of what is pressing all around us. We can choose to believe we are who God has called us to be.
Stand firm. Like Daniel and his friends, let us not lose our identity. We are the Lord’s children. We are the Redeemed of the Lord saved by his blood shed on Calvary.
The Tomb is Empty. Because He lives we Can Also Live Forever.
Be encouraged today. Stand firm in Christ Jesus.