This is an excerpt from Daniel by J.D. Greear.

In Daniel, Chapter 3, We see Nebuchadnezzar hadn’t learned much. God revealed (in a dream about a giant statue, no less) to Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom was fleeting and temporary compared to God’s kingdom that will last forever and crush all competitors. After that, the king had a giant gold statue built in his honor and commanded “people of every nation and language” to bow down and worship him. This was all going pretty well for him until three Hebrew teenagers had the courage to reject the king’s commands. The central conviction of Christian courage is Jesus is Lord.

It wasn’t the men’s faith in God that caused the problem; it was their refusal to also acknowledge the divine authority of Nebuchadnezzar. Nothing has changed today: In our Babylon, faith in Jesus is not the problem. It’s our insistence that He’s the only way of salvation and only source of authority. You will never get in trouble for saying Jesus is your personal Savior. But you will when you say that there is “no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Every culture and society has its own idols, and the moment you fail to bow down in homage, the fiery furnace awaits. It’s the same old spirit of Nebuchadnezzar every time.

In the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, there’s a Bible that belonged to Thomas Jefferson with large passages cut out of it. In Jefferson’s day, the academic world had turned against any kind of belief in miracles. That was considered unfashionable, uneducated. These Enlightenment thinkers thought the morality of Jesus was awesome—the Sermon on the Mount was the greatest moral treatise in human history. But the miracles were a leftover relic of a superstitious past. If people did this today, they would probably cut out Jesus’s teachings on the sanctity of sex and marriage. They’d keep the miracle stories and cut out large parts of the Sermon on the Mount.

Christian courage believes God can and expects that He will but trusts Him if He doesn’t.

J.D. Greear

Babylon says it is fine to worship Jesus, just edit Him to fit our preferences so you can still bow where you need to bow. But hear me: for the follower of Jesus, that’s not an option. He’s either Lord or He is not. For us to not make that clear is not just cowardly, it is cruel. These young men understood the call of Jesus and the courage it requires. Because these guys stood when everyone else bowed—even though they got thrown into a fiery furnace for it—an entire empire saw the reality of the God of Israel on display. Scholars say you can trace the faith of the wise men who came to see Jesus at His birth back to this encounter. What will future generations say about the courage and the testimony of our generation? Their eternal future depends on our courage in the present.

Having seen the central conviction of Christian courage—Jesus is Lord—we can go on to define Christian courage. Daniel 3 helps us develop a definition: Christian courage believes God can and expects that He will but trusts Him if He doesn’t. CHRISTIAN COURAGE BELIEVES GOD CAN. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had no doubt who the biggest daddy in this drama was. Their defiance was rooted in their belief that there is only one God and that He is able to deliver His people from any situation. Nebuchadnezzar’s threats were nothing compared to the power of their God. That’s the most basic principle of faith: God is bigger than your problems. Any of them. He’s bigger than cancer, a lost job, or a broken marriage. He’s bigger than sin, shame, and the grave. Not even a hair from your head falls apart from His knowledge or permission.

Daniel Bible Study Book with Video Access includes printed content for eight sessions, personal study between group sessions, applicable Scripture, “How to Use This Study,” and tips for leading a group. Also, each Book contains unique codes that enable you to access free teaching videos for each session.

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