When Obedience Costs

Fire wood burning in the furnace

By Kevin West

I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It’s a great story to share with kids when explaining God’s might and ability to overcome circumstances. It’s also a great story to remind adults that God will come through in the perfect moment.

There’s a 3rd reason I love this story and I’ve been processing through it today.

 Daniel 3:17-18 says,

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we service is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.

I think we often overlook verse 18 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say, “Even if he doesn’t.” There was a chance God wouldn’t deliver them in the way they had hoped…and they were prepared for that!

If I were honest with you I’d have to admit that’s hard for me to hear. Of course God would deliver them. I’ve read this story hundreds of times and every time God delivers Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Every time! And yet…does God deliver every time? I don’t know about your life, but God doesn’t deliver in that way for me every time.

Lose your job. Hate your job. Don’t get the job. Messed up marriage. Messed up kids. Messed up parents. Cancer. Infertility. Foreclosure. Can’t pay your bills. Bankruptcy. Friends disappoint. Friends betray.

These are the situations that fit better with my life. How about yours?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the most difficult position you will ever encounter. Bow your knee or lose your life. They chose to lose their lives, even though they didn’t know without a doubt that God would come through. All they knew for sure was 1) God could deliver them 2) It’s better to obey God and die, than to disobey God and live.

As I thought about this today I had to consider what areas in my life I need to say, “But even if he doesn’t.” Even if he doesn’t deliver me from this circumstance, I will still worship God.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. God can and does deliver all the time. I believe in praying for His deliverance.

Jesus was a man who walked a perfect life on earth. He followed the will of the Father completely. And yet, the will of the Father led Jesus to death. That is terrible in itself, but it would be tragic if the story ended there. But it doesn’t. Jesus was raised to life, glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father.

Resurrection. What if that’s what God is trying to do in us? What if, like Jesus’ story, God doesn’t deliver in the method we suggest?

What if the point is not deliverance, but resurrection? What if life is about learning how to say, “But even if he doesn’t” (or not my will but yours be done) when we’re trapped in unbearable seasons.

What if within those seasons we learned to raise our voice in worship, obey God’s word and listen to the still small voice?

Kevin West is a creative arts pastor/worship leader in Southern California.  He’s passionate about helping people connect with God, loves his family and really enjoys a good hamburger.  For more of Kevin’s writings or to listen to his music, visit kevinwestmusic.net. You can also follow him on twitter (@kevindwest).

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    2 comments on “When Obedience Costs

    1. Thanks for this post. I needed to be reminded of this right now. I just left the hospital about an hour ago where I watched a friend pass away from cancer. This was very difficult since we had the whole church praying and we all believed that she would be healed. Even though God does want to heal, and He does heal many times, “even if He doesn’t” it will not stop us from worshipping Him. His ways are not our ways. Thanks!

      Scott Fravel
      author of “The Transforming Power of a Father”

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