Following Jesus in a World of Idolatry
“There are some Jews you have appointed to manage the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These men have ignored you, the king; they do not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:12 CSB)
When you hear the word “idol”, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of a funny-looking statue belonging to someone in a faraway land. Or perhaps it’s a famous actor or athlete that people look up to. Or maybe you just think of a popular reality television show.
As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lived in the province of Babylon, they were confronted with a large and obvious idol. King Nebuchadnezzar had built a huge statue made of gold that was 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. The king issued a decree that when the people heard the music play, there were “to fall face down and worship the gold statue” (v.5) that had been set up. Anyone who did not do so would be immediately thrown into a furnace of blazing fire and would be consumed.
The three men had an important decision to make. They knew what God required of them. He had clearly said, “Do not have other gods beside me” (Exodus 20:3). To worship the statue set up by the king would mean to directly defy and disobey God. So when the music began to play, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ignored the king’s decree and did not bow down and worship the gold statue. They courageously refused to give in to the idolatrous worship that was confronting them.
The temptations toward idolatry that will confront us as followers of Jesus Christ may not be as obvious as what these men faced. Everywhere we turn though, there will be things competing for our heart’s affections. We should expect it. Idolatry is less about the external or physical things around us, and more about who or what we love more than God. It’s the things, even good things, in our lives that are more important to us than Jesus. It’s whatever draws our attention away from God and deceives us into thinking that we can’t live without.
John tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). What are the things in your life that are seeking to take first place ahead of God? What is it that is drawing your heart’s affections away from Him? What is it that you are looking to give you what only God can give? Choose today, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to not bow down and worship the gods of this world. Decide to turn from the “idols” of your heart, and to allow God to take His rightful place.
* Originally posted on www.kingdomdrivendaily.com. Used with permission.