Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
(Jesus want’s us planted in Him, supplied with His living water so it won’t matter if our environment is predicting rain or a drought, we can thrive not die no matter… the way our government is going, or if we lose our job or relationships are strained… if we are depending on Him as the source of our living water we will bear fruit in EVERY season! What tree have you ever known to do that?! Even the healthy ones only produce fruit for A season! But in Jesus you can bear fruit in every season no matter what your situation or circumstances! (John 15:5))
Not so the wicked! The are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1
(If we do not stand firm now… if we give in to “the bow” of the world we will not be able to stand later… in the judgment.)
Read Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar made an image… (vs.1) like the world has set up many “images”, things, systems, places… that beg for us to fall down and worship it/them. The devil is deceitful so he works to counterfeit the light and often he works to get you to do “the bow” to many small things before you realize you are submitted to some ninety foot high, nine foot wide idol(s)! Sometimes “the bow” is so subtle it seems that we would do well to pray as David did… Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if their is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Choosing to stand firm and not submit to “the bow” will not be easy and it wasn’t for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3. Verse 12-13 states they were up against people set on their destruction and a furious ruler with the power to kill them! But Jesus says, And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 And when you feel like you are standing firm alone Jesus did too in John 16:32 He says, You will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. He tells over and over in Scripture He will never leave us! Jesus told us this world would be hard but to not loose heart because He has over come this world (John 16:33)! …the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13
So are we willing like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, when everyone around us is doing “the bow”, to stand? When the situation around us seems to be getting worse the longer we stand… the fire is getting turned up 7 times hotter… will we still stand? When people are mocking and shouting at you like they did these three men… Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand? (verse 15) Will we have the faith to stand firm in our belief that… Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1
So often we cave under the pressure of this world to conform, we give up. But maybe, just maybe the pressure we feel is because all though we want to be that big fruitful tree thriving by the side of living water, God has first handed us a seed that must be planted and placed under the pressure of the soil in order for all that He has intended and designed your seed to become to grow. Don’t give up under pressure, maybe it’s just His planting and we need to persevere – stand firm.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had the faith to say in verses 17-18 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. “But even if he does not…” Do we have faith that will stand even if He does not do the thing the way we thought it should go, it doesn’t look like what we thought it should look like? Jesus says in Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Jesus asks us to be diligent in prayer, He knows its not easy and He is even praying for us!! (Romans 8:34, Luke 22:32, John 17:20-26) We need to stay in His Word soaking up that living water so that our seed can grow, so that our tree can bear fruit in EVERY season!
The temptation to succumb to “the bow” of the world will be everyday and come in big and small ways. But we can all follow the example of Jesus Who endured under pressure. Jesus says in Matthew 26:46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer! Wow! Words spoken by a true warrior! In the face of your betrayer, your fire, your fear, your insecurity, the pressure to conform… He says RISE! You are a mighty warrior in My army so RISE, stand firm in My strength and lets go… I’ve got great plans to do through you but I need you on your feet… ALL THE WAY to My Kingdom that is not of this world!
When you reach His Kingdom having stood firm for Him no matter what others did or said about how you chose to live for Him rather than take “the bow” it will all be worth it. When you hear Jesus say about you like He did about Mary when everyone was making fun of her… She has done a beautiful thing to me…Mark 14:6 and then…well done good and faithful servant.. Matthew 25:23 It will be worth it.
Independent Read: 1 John 4:4