“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.
As discussed in this series’ Introduction, the world seems eager to separate itself from God. The life-threatening and non-conforming “stands” taken by Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should encourage us to remain true to the Lord. But what inspired their faith? The accounts in the book of Daniel identify four sources of inspiration.
One must not overlook the encouragement we gain from having cohorts in faith. Shadrach’s bold refusal to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was not done alone. No, he stood with with Meshach and Abednego.
Faith in Jesus and resisting the pressures to abandon Him require great courage. Courage is more easily aroused and sustained when it is shared. As wise King Solomon accurately stated, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
Surely Meshach’s willingness to stand for God was partly inspired by seeing and knowing that Abednego and Shadrach would join him. But, how can cohorts inspire our faith when our crisis of belief is solitary? Elijah gave voice to this very frustration, shortly after the mountaintop “victory” over Baal’s priests.
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.” 1 Kings 19:14.
God corrected Elijah, advising him of seven thousand who remained faithful to Him and whose knees have “not bowed to Baal”. (See 1 Kings 19:18). Knowing that he was not alone, Elijah’s faith was rejuvenated and his vigor restored.
The writer of Hebrews gave a similar exhortation, expanding the definitional concept of faith cohorts to include those no longer alive.
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,” Hebrews 12:1.
Hopefully you don’t view your faith journey as a solitary one. It is not. There are many who previously trod the very paths you are walking and are now your “cloud of witnesses”. There are others who are, or can come, beside you. And, while our membership does not (yet) number seven thousand, please know that your brothers and sisters in the Christian Lawyer Directory are on similar faith journeys. All are faith cohorts who should serve to encourage your perseverance.
Take a stand for Jesus. Have courage. You are not alone.