A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NLT)
Have you ever had someone make fun of you because of something? Maybe your friends were teasing a classmate and you refused to do it. Or maybe they wanted to ride their skateboards on a sidewalk where they weren’t supposed to and you told them it wasn’t right. Or maybe they even dared you to pocket something small at the mall but you said no.
Standing up for what you believe is right isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re the one who gets made fun of or your friends decide they don’t want you in their group anymore. Taking a stand for what is right isn’t the world’s way, but it IS God’s way.
Look at the story of Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. You might know them better as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, their Babylonian names. These were young men from Judah living in captivity in the land of Babylon. The Babylonians worshiped many gods but these young men refused to join in with the rest. They remained obedient to the one true God that they knew and loved.
They must have been raised by parents who knew that the Lord blessed obedience and they wanted to make them strong to stand up for God no matter what circumstances they were facing. Does this sound like your mom or dad? Have you had to “defend” yourself to your friends when they see you bowing your head for prayer before lunch or when you refuse to say bad words or join in with them when they are teasing someone? Do you feel strong because of what your dad or mom has taught you about God? Then take some time to tell them that.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
While these four young men were in Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar decided he wanted some good men to work for him. They had to be smart and handsome and good thinkers. His assistant chose several young men; among them were Daniel and his friends. The men were to receive the best of the king’s food so they would grow strong and be very healthy. Daniel and his friends knew it was not right to eat that kind of food. They had been obedient so far in the land of Babylon, despite the hardship it caused them. They were not about to be disobedient now. So they asked to be fed only water and vegetables. This sort of worried their keeper because if they became unhealthy, it would be his fault. But they made a deal with the keeper that if they weren’t healthy at the end of the time, he could punish them anyway he chose. (Read Daniel 1)
Can you imagine the scene at that dinner table? Here were all these other young men, eating all the kings good food and drinking all the king’s good wine while Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. I imagine there was some teasing and laughing going on, don’t you? But at the end of the appointed time, not only were they still healthy, they were even more healthy than the men who had eaten and drank what was put before them. As a result, Daniel and his friends were taken into the king’s service for he found them ten times better than any of the other men.
What’s the point of this story? God blesses obedience. The Lord had a plan for Daniel and his three friends in the land of Babylon. Because they took a stand for God, He blessed them in the middle of a very difficult circumstance. It wasn’t easy for them as it isn’t always easy for us. But being obedient to God by forgiving, showing unconditional love, and praying for the ones we love, does bring blessings.
With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. Ephesians 3:20 (ICB)
This wasn’t the end of the story for Daniel and his three friends. Oh no. They were placed in much more difficult circumstances and faced even greater hardships. A lion’s den and a fiery furnace to mention a couple. But through it all, they remained obedient and took a stand for their God. And He blessed them because He had a plan for them.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
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Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.