Most of us know the children’s Bible story about Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and the furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar. In part one of Righteous Intolerance, we looked at modern day social issues. In part two, I would like us to consider what Righteous Intolerance looks like.
Most of us know the account of what happened in the third chapter of Daniel. Right after the government officials sought to control the school lunch menus in chapter one, we see the forced social agenda of the government. They begin by telling our good guys an idol is to be revered over their own faith.
Please understand this “golden idol” stood 90 feet tall on the plain of Dura. Think Washington Monument in Death Valley. You can’t miss it. Our three boys were assembled with the rest of the people on the plain. When the band started playing, everyone bowed to the King’s whim. Everyone except the three brave non-conformists.
In today’s world of political correctness, we need to weigh the popular movement against the Word of God and see how it compares. Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you will prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
That is a huge responsibility. We, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, are called to prove God’s will by NOT going along with the crowd. Do we understand when everyone else bowed to the King’s orders, these three men stood tall? They were obviously different. They were easily picked out of the crowd due their Righteous Intolerance.
When Nebuchadnezzar confronted them and asked if they understood “…If you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you from my hands?”, they did not wilt. Their response is what is missing today in this country. They said “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Fast forward to they were thrown in a furnace which was seven times hotter than normal, and so hot it consumed their special forces guards who threw them in. Then Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the furnace instead of three. The forth looked like a son of the gods (more precisely the Son of God.)
When life turns up the heat and we are called to take a stand for righteousness, do people see Christ when they look at us? When we practice Righteous Intolerance, we must place our emphasis on the Righteous component. Because when Nebuchadnezzar saw Christ with them, he ran up to the furnace and said “…come out you servants of the most high God and come here !”
When was the last time we were called out because we honored God? We want to be called “Servants of the most high God”, because our lives should reflect serving Jehovah God, not some politically correct form of social service or worship.
They took a stand on that plain when everyone else bowed to the King’s idea of what was to be revered. They were obviously different. Then, even when faced with death and persecution, they did not waiver. They were not just believers when it was easy and comfortable. They did not conform to the world’s definition of the flavor of the month for worship or submission to a government that did not respect religious liberty.
Martin Luther King Jr, who is our greatest contemporary example of Righteous Intolerance, declared this: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Today we don’t look different. We bow to the same idols everyone else does of career, leisure, spiritual apathy, contempt for our fellow man so we feel better about ourselves etc.. Do I need to go on? Unfortunately, when we do get our priorities right, all too often we are the silent good people of whom Dr. King spoke.
Are you ready to take a stand? I am calling out all servants of the most high God!