Friday Reflections – April 16, 2021 – An Alive Faith

Just a quick word about the next few weeks. As I’ve fallen into this current schedule of devotionals, I think a lot about something one of my professors used to say (in the video I said Dr. Bryson, thinking more about it is was Dr. Knick), never mistake God’s word for you for God’s word for them. A dangerous thing for a preach is to only look at a text and thinking about what can preach or teach, instead of also listening for what God wants to say to them, and them alone. For most of this year, our Rooted has come from my own devotional life, and while that is good, too often I found myself looking at the text, nothing listening for my own soul, but look for a devotional.  Because of that, I’m going to shift rooted into a study of a book of a bible for a season.  So, starting Monday, we’ll be looking at Galatians together, one of my favorite New Testament books.  So, if you’d like to read ahead, look at Galatians 1 next for next Monday. 

Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections: 

Today’s reading is from Daniel 3: 13-18

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good.  But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. 17 If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.  18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

Today we see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face potential harm because they refuse to worship the foreign gods and bow down to a golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar.  I so love their response to the text that Nebuchadnezzar is going to have.  No need for this, we will not worship these gods.  If God wants to, He can deliver us. But even if he doesn’t, we still will not worship these false gods.  

This is a picture of an alive faith.  I think sometimes the mistake we make with faith is that we can shift into a mode where it is all about what we can get, or what God can do for us. We receive.  And yes, we need to receive His mercy, His grace, His salvation.  

But today, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would love for God to give them protection and safety.  Who wouldn’t? But, they knew that even if God didn’t save them, He was still God.  Their faith was active and it was alive because they knew that their faith didn’t just call them to receive, but to give.  

And active faith is one that sacrifices, that gives, that is willing to make that sacrificial movement and offering because God is worthy of this. Because God is good. Even if He doesn’t save, even if He doesn’t fix it.  Even if it is still messed up and broken.  He is still God. 

Life is not a fairy tale.  It is hard at times. And an alive faith is a faith that clings to God, that gives to God, even when it looks impossible.  Our faith is not just what we get.  It is what we give. Then our faith truly, truly, comes alive.   

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