“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up’” (Daniel 3: 16-18, ESV).
In Part 1 of this meditation I stated that we often take misguided stands for God because we are really just trying to compel or coerce people to believe or behave the way we think we think they should based on ill-conceived notions of what that Bible says.
In other words when we take a stand on principle, it should demonstrate our trust in God and His standards and not in our own personal convictions.
In Daniel 3 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego exemplify how to determine “a hill to die on.” These three friends of Daniel were officials in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. They refused to obey the King’s command to worship a golden image the King had made even under threat of being burned to death in a furnace.
For them, taking a stand for God was a matter of maintaining the fidelity of their faith (abiding by God’s standards). Their behavior demonstrated their belief! When required to behave contrary to their belief, they were willing to take a stand for their faith.
Yet, their stand didn’t attempt to defend God’s character or God’s sovereignty. Not did they attempt to put God to the test. They believed God was in control. Whatever the outcome of being thrown into the fiery furnace, it didn’t impact their trust in God. If they were rescued by God or if they perished in the furnace, it didn’t change the stand they were taking.
The Apostle John declares that behavior and belief must work together. John says that if we claim to know God, then we will keep His commandments (1 John 2:3-5). If Christians claim to be saved and have the Holy Spirit abiding in them, then they will also behave like Jesus behaved: “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6, ESV).
If a Christian is required to behave in a way that’s contrary with his or her biblical beliefs, then that’s the time to take a stand. That’s a hill to die on!
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)