By Wes Mason
“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, ‘This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language:
As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.'” ~ Daniel 3:1-6
In recent times we have seen an unprecedented attack on our historic Judeo-Christian values, morals and beliefs. Recently the Roman Catholic organization, the Little Sisters of the Poor, lost an appeal at the 10 US Circuit court in a case involving their refusal to provide certain health care benefits that violate long standing Catholic Pro Life Doctrine. There are numerous cases of businesses and governments firing employees who expressed their sincere religious beliefs at work, on personal blogs and even in churches that conflicted with the culture of that organization. Even the DOD has put restrictions on Chaplains on when and how they can minister.
Such events are slowly increasing and I can only see it getting even more oppressive. Many in government use the term freedom of worship not freedom of religion. They do NOT mean the same thing. If my religious beliefs require that I proclaim, to the free market place of ideas, my beliefs, then under our constitution I have that right. The phrase freedom of worship restricts that practice to my house of worship and requires that I conduct myself in a manner that does not offend others outside of that venue ( at least for now).
For the born again, bible obeying Christian that is not acceptable. We have a command from the King of King and Lord of Lords to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the globe and to make disciples of those who respond to his message forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. We do this by words of biblical truth and deeds of love, mercy and grace. We must obey Christ regardless of the cost to us.
Our obedience can and will cost us time in the flames of opposition. That will involve ugly name calling in the press , social media and elsewhere. Folks are questioning and demanding the end of the Churches tax exemptions. Or if they allow us to keep it, it will be at the cost of allowing the world to dictate to the Church what they can and cannot believe and preach. Our opposition in places of power within our culture will use their influence to do everything they can to marginalize us and reduce us to outcast in society. But when the heat turns up,we must stand as strong as the Hebrew Children did.
“There are certain Jews whom you have appointed and set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up. Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and these men were brought before the king. [Then] Nebuchadnezzar said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be cast at once into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is that god who can deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point. If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!” ~ Daniel 3:12-18
These 3 faithful Jewish men were willing to die to keep faith with God. They were thrown into the fire for refusing to worship an Idol and the Lord saved them and not even the smell of smoke was on their clothes.
While it is not yet that way in America we still must be willing to risk jobs, positions and status in order to obey the King of King and Lord of Lords. And if I am honest I must confess it is easier to write these words than to live them out.
May the Lord grant us all grace to be faithful to his word and will, regardless of the cost to us.
Wes Mason is a native of Richmond VA. He served in the USAF after graduating in 1974 and lived in NM, TX, MA and the UK. While in TX, he recognized God’s calling on his life and was ordained in a small Pentecostal Church in 1984. He moved to Boston to finish college, and while there, was involved in campus ministries as a student leader and a prison ministry volunteer. After college Wes moved back to Richmond in 87, very quickly was asked to be part of the Good news Jail and Prison Ministry at Henrico County Jail west. Currently Wes provides pulpit supply for 11 local Baptist churches. He’s married to my wife Cindy, a school teacher since 88, and has 2 great sons. Wes is a member of Hunton Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Va. Wes plays the 5 string banjo and guitar for a hobby. You can connect with Wes via email: firstname.lastname@example.org