Fearless and Full of Faith

A month or so ago, I was memorizing the last of a memory verses list that I had created a year or more previously. I came to Daniel 3:17-18, and as I began working on the passage I was struck with the beauty in it.

Imagine the scene:

Court retainers line the smooth walls of the throne room, their eyes keenly intent on the three young men standing before the great king Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon, conqueror of much of the known world. The king’s eyes flash as he stares down each unrepentant man by turn, his voice a low rumble of angry thunder as he bends toward them. “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that you do not serve my gods, or worship the golden image that I have set up?”

The young men don’t waver for a second. Not once does their gaze shift to each other, and yet they remain silent. Waiting. The court tenses, each man knowing the fate of these foolish leaders if they don’t follow the king’s command.

“I will give you one more chance,” Nebuchadnezzar continues, his voice growing harsher with each word, “to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will immediately be thrown into the burning fiery furnace.” He pauses for a second, his gaze shifting from one uplifted face to the next. His final words cut through the room, a defiant challenge to those listening. “What god can save you from my power then?”

The throne room is silent. The king still leans forward, his threatening, keen gaze on the three men—administrators of the province of Babylon—standing before him.

Slowly, one sandaled foot raises and settles without a sound, another follows. A young man looks down at the tiles below his feet for a moment, takes a deep breath, and as he raises his eyes to meet those of the king, his shoulders draw back—not in pride, but in power.

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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 your hand, O king.”

The court gasps at his boldness, their attention riveted on the young speaker standing just one pace beyond his fellows. Many glance at the unmoving face of the king, then back to the firm yet hopeful countenance of the bright-eyed youth as he continues, “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.”

An explosion of furious words blasts through the air, shattering the breathless silence.

01

This statement…it’s powerful.

I don’t think I’d ever considered faith in the light I saw it in that morning while reviewing memory verses. These three young men—dear friends of Daniel—had complete trust in God.

I’m sure, as they stood there meeting the gaze of this king who could order their death at any moment, that there was some unease in their hearts. Any human facing death is bound to have a little (or maybe not, maybe I’ve always assumed that that’s a fact of life?). But they had such faith in the Lord that they weren’t overly concerned about it. They didn’t even mention death in their reply to the king! Their strength came from the Lord, and they knew it—and weren’t overly worried about other people knowing about it either.

This is true fearless faith.

Unswerving, unbending trust in the LORD, the Creator of the world and the Upholder of all things…including their lives.

As I was mulling over this beautiful fearless faith, I had to think of some of the other Bible stories that have to do with faith. Not too much later after memorizing these verses, my brothers and I listened to a dramatized audio version of David and Goliath from Your Story Hour. (By the way, I love how Your Story Hour shares Biblical stories! As a child, I often was quite bored with the same stories over and over, but they have a way of presenting them in a whole new light—I highly recommend looking into them if you want a fresh perspective for you or your children!)

Consider 1 Samuel 17:45-47:

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”

Notice all the confident verbs (I think that’s what they are…correct me if I’m wrong!) in the passage. Again, David had no doubt that God would deliver Goliath into his hand; it was just a matter of going out and conquering him, which he saw as no challenge.

And of course there are plenty of other examples in the Bible too:

  • Abraham and Isaac (“God will provide Himself a lamb” Gen. 22:8)
  • Caleb (“give me this mountain” Josh 14:12)
  • Jonathan and his armor bearer (“there is no restraint to the Lord” 1 Sam. 14:6)
  • Jehoshaphat (“our eyes are upon thee” 2 Chron. 32:7)
  • Ezra (“The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him” Ezra 9:22)
  • Job (“I know that my redeemer liveth” Job 19:25)
  • Paul in the shipwreck (“I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” Acts 27:25)

I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that I’ve remembered or been referenced to in my study.

I looked this subject up in my Thompson Chain-Reference, and the label they gave was “victorious faith”. That’s what these people had—victorious, fearless faith. Wow.

So I ask myself this evening: Do I have this unwavering, unrelenting faith in God?

Could I stand firm, even if I knew I faced certain death, and proclaim boldly that God is who He says He is and He will do what is best—whether to glorify Himself in taking me home to glory, or perform a miracle? That’s a tough call! I hope I can say yes, but I don’t know. Sometimes my faith seems to be quite weak!

How about you? Do you have this kind of faith? What would you do in a situation like the three young men were facing? Do you know of any other Biblical stories that would fit on this list? Has anything special popped out to you in your memorization time lately?

Wait

Wait on the Lord

In my single-digit days, one of the things I most despised hearing from Mom were the words “hold your horses!” And, sadly, as I’ve gotten a little older that hasn’t changed much. She still reminds me, when I start heading down multiple what if? rabbit trails at once, to stop, be patient, and well…just wait.

Funny thing is, the Bible has some things to say about this too. Psalm 27:14, for example, has this to say about it:

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

And, of course, one of my favorite verses lately has a similar theme to it:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The thing is, God doesn’t always show us His “understanding” right away. He doesn’t even “strengthen our hearts” right away. He doesn’t always “direct our paths” just as soon as we pray, “direct me, please!”

It’s hard to wait when you’re afraid. Hard to believe that God really is going to come through and be with you, is going to follow through on His promises. I think of all those people listed in Hebrews 11, and wonder how many of them battled fear even while clinging to the faith that earned them a place among the “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1)? Many, I’d expect.

So today, as I go about my daily life, trying to commit my cares to the Lord and asking Him to help me trust Him more, I’m asking for patience to wait. For patience to just rest, see that the Lord is good, and follow His plan.

Not trusting is wearing—physically, emotionally, spiritually. But trusting Him? While it may be hard, we can be sure we have a firm foundation—because Christ has risen! (See 1 Corinthians 15:13-22.)

The Flow of History

If there’s one thing I remember doing in my earliest memories, it would be having our family worship time. Although the times of day when we do it has changed over the years, it’s an every day occurrence aside from Sundays. I only remember one time when we’ve actually missed having it, and that was not on purpose, believe me! This is a long-standing tradition, one that I’m sure will never stop, even after all of us children eventually leave home.

01: Flow of History

I really respect my dad for keeping it up all these years. It can’t be easy for him; often he’s had long days at work and he’s physically drained, but he always makes sure that we have our Bible time.Over the years, we’ve done at least two almost cover-to-cover read-throughs of the Bible (we’ve skipped some of the genealogies—the younger children have a hard time reading, let alone understanding, all the names!). I can’t remember exactly when we started the last read-through, but it was probably a year or two ago. We got up to 1 Kings 7 by October last year, then Dad decided to switch to Blue Letter Bible’s Chronological reading plan. Reading the Bible this way adds a whole new dimension to the stories and context, which makes it quite interesting! Currently, we’re reading in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah.

As we’ve been reading through Kings and Chronicles, I’ve noticed some interesting “threads” of history. I’m keeping track of those findings on slips of paper, and eventually I’ll transfer them into my journal for safe keeping. I thought I’d share them here today, since I find the similarities so interesting.

The Flow of History #1:

Taken from: II Kings 15, especially verses 9, 18, 24, and 28.

Zachariah, son of Jeroboam, king of Israel (not related to the first king of Israel; he was Jehu’s great-great grandson, according to the word of the Lord—see II Kings 10:30)

  • Departed not from Jeroboam’s sins (Jeroboam the son of Nebat was the first king of Israel, and this is who it is referring to)
  • Was conspired against and killed by Shallum (vs. 10; who was in turn killed a month later by Menahem)

Menahem, son of Gadi, king of Israel

  • Killed Shallum (who had killed Zachariah)
  • Died a natural death
  • Departed not from Jeroboam’s sins

Pekahiah, son of Menahem, king of Israel

  • Departed not from Jeroboam’s sins
  • Conspired against and killed (vs. 25)

Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel

  • Killed Pekahiah
  • Departed not from Jeroboam’s sins
  • Conspired against and killed by Hoshea the son of Elah (vs. 30)

IN CONCLUSION:

Jeroboam the son of Nebat set a precedent that was never overturned. He went down in history as the “man who made Israel to sin.” What precedent are YOU setting?

I found it fascinating that of the five kings in this chapter, all followed the sins of Jeroboam and four out of the five were conspired against and killed. Isn’t that interesting? Reminds me of Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

02: Flow of History

The Flow of History #2

Taken from: II Chronicles 21-29

Chapter 21: Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, who was the son of Asa, king of Judah (the latter two followed the Lord)

  • His mother’s name is not mentioned
  • Married Ahab’s daughter (21:6)
  • Compelled Judah to sin (21:11)

Chapter 22: Ahaziah, youngest son of Jehoram, king of Judah

  • Mother’s name was Athaliah (22:2; we find out later in the chapter that she killed all her grandsons so she could reign over Judah)
  • Walked in the ways of Ahab (an evil king of Israel; 22:3)

Chapter 24: Joash, son of Ahaziah, king of Judah

  • Mother’s name was Zibiah (24:1)
  • Did that which was right all the years that Jehoiada the priest was alive (24:2)

Chapter 25: Amaziah, son of Joash, king of Judah

  • Mother’s name was Jehoaddan (25:1)
  • Did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not perfectly (25:2)

Chapter 26: Uzziah, son of Amaziah, king of Judah

  • Mother’s name was Jecoliah (26:3)
  • Did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not perfectly (26:4-5)

Chapter 27: Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah

  • Mother was Jerushah (27:1)
  • Did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not perfectly (27:2)

Chapter 28: Ahaz, son of Jotham, king of Judah

  • No mother named
  • Provoked the Lord God to anger (28:25)

Chapter 29: Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah (one of the most righteous kings in Judaean king history; he prayed for deliverance from the Assyrians and the Lord defeated the army)

  • Mother’s name was Abijah (29:1)
  • Did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that king David had done (29:2)

IN CONCLUSION:

The Godly mothers are named for the kings that followed the Lord. Only one evil king out of the three mentioned had his mother named, and that was because everyone knew how evil she was. We are all examples to someone, just as these mothers were to their sons. What kind of example are you setting before your coworkers, your siblings, your children, or others that you come in contact with on a frequent basis? What kind of Godly influence are YOU?

Indeed, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

Be blessed, friend. Live for Jesus today.
-Esther