NOTE: This was originally posted March of 2012 by Allyson McElroy
Verse: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18, KJV
(Elijah has just told God that he knows of no one left in Israel who still worships Him. This is God’s response.)
Do you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the three friends in Daniel 3 who refused to bow down to any so-called gods? They were 100% devoted to God (who, at the time, hadn’t died for their sins or blessed them beyond measure or walked in the fire with them).
Picture it: King Nebuchadnezzar had just made an image of gold and commanded everyone to bow to worship it once the instruments were played. People everywhere are gathered around, crowding the public areas. Right in the middle are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Let’s watch…
Cymbals crash, flutes play, trumpets blast. The Nebuchadnezzar faithful bow in obedient worship. Not the three friends. They unabashedly, proudly stand tall. Whispering arises. Townspeople begin to point. Surely the three misunderstood. The King himself gathers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego unto him. “Don’t you know? When the music starts you must bow down! If you don’t, I’ll throw you in a pit of fire!” I’ll save the end of the story for another time, but just know that the boys didn’t bow and God saved them.
Let’s pause here and bring this to modern day:
Jill Christian (could be you, could be me) is standing in this group. The pressure is mounting to bow and the trumpets will sound any moment. Jill thinks…
Wait! There they are! I hear them!
I believe in God. I am a Christian! I can’t bow!
But, the fire is hot.
Oh, wait. Is my shoe untied?
I’d better bow down, er, I mean bend over and tie that…
The music stops. Everyone stands back, waiting for the next blast of the horns, which happens…right…now:
No! Not again! Everyone is bowing except me!
The fire – I’ll be thrown in!
Wait a second… did I double knot that?
I’d better retie that shoe to make certain.
Let me bow down, er, I mean bend over and tie that…
Wow. This hits home for me. How many times have I tried to blend in just so I wouldn’t stand out? Is that what God’s called me to do? Proverbs tells us many times that our ways may seem pure to us, to others – but God knows our heart.
Lord, let me never be a sneaker-tying Christian. Forgive me for trying to blend in. You’ve called me to be a peculiar person. You’ve set me apart, sanctified me as I prayed you would. Please do so again. Let me stand, boldly, for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.