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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Steering straight!

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, we read of three young Hebrew men, Hananiah, Misha-el, and Azariah, (better known by the names given to them by the Babylonians: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), who were brought before the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, accused of not bowing to the great golden image that he had had erected, and which all of the people had been commanded to worship.  The punishment for disobedience was to be cast into a large furnace, and to be burnt to death.  Not a pleasant prospect!

The three young men, however, were not cowed by the king's threat - even although they were only too aware that he would carry it through.  Here is their recorded response:

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.'" (Dan 3:16-18; emphasis added).

In other words, they were willing to place their trust, unreservedly, in Almighty God - regardless of the outcome!

In one of the old, mythological, stories, an old pilot was sailing his boat through a severe storm on the tempestuous Aegean Sea.  In his extremity, he was seen to stand erect and cry out, 'Father Neptune, you may sink me if you will, or you may save me if you will but, whatever happens, I will keep my rudder true!'

I wonder, are you facing a difficult situation, today?  Are you facing, albeit metaphorically, fire or storm?  Then be comforted (i.e. strengthened).  Almighty God is in control.  He is sovereign.  As Paul assures us: "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28).

When our circumstances are difficult, it is tempting to compromise our principles, and depart from the course set out for us in God's written Word.  Let us not do so!  Let us, like those three young Hebrew men, continue to trust God in every situation.  Let us say, "I will keep my rudder true"!  That's the only way by which we may steer a straight course through life.

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