THE WORD: Faithfulness means never having to bow down

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The Fruit of the Spirit

The seventh element of the Fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. The Book of Daniel contains several examples of faithfulness. An enduring example of faithfulness in the Bible is the plight of three men cast into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to bow down before a golden image. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of the three — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — that they were part of an early civil disobedience movement. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” King said a higher moral law was at stake in the three men’s actions.

The fiery furnace of the Babylonians was nothing to fear for the three men because they had faith in God to deliver them. They also understood the importance of standing up for their beliefs, regardless of the consequences. In a society that seems to be full of golden images — whether physical or rhetorical — we should remember that higher moral laws are at stake when we are asked to bow down. The fiery furnaces take many new forms.

Daniel 3:12,16-17

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 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 thine hand, O king.