A Hill To Die On: Part 2 – Daniel 3:8-30

“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.

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A Hill To Die On: Part 1 – Ecclesiastes 8:2-5

“Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way” (Ecclesiastes 8:2-5, ESV).

Sometimes a biblical text reveals some insight into God’s nature. Sometimes a text provides a spiritual admonition. And, sometimes a biblical text just offers some practical advice, which seems to be the case with these verses.

The way we would state the sentiment expressed in these verses in modern vernacular would be “picking your battle” or “choosing which hill to die on.” That is, use wisdom and not passion to determine what cause is worth fighting for.

But, the causes we choose to defend are often meaningless causes–or as the Preacher says in this verse from Ecclesiastes, “an evil cause.”

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