I've been hearing the phrase, “You won't know who you are until you know whose you are,” over and over lately. I've been thinking about what it means to know whose you are and how that plays a part in finding out you are.
I've also been thinking about people we meet in the Bible and wondering how this statement was lived out in their lives. There are so many examples, but one example keeps coming to mind.
I think the men in Daniel 3 give a clear picture of what it means to know whose you are and let that affect who you are. For the whole story of Daniel 3 click here. Here's the shorter version:
Israel had rebelled so long that God let them be taken captive by a foreign land. King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of that foreign land. King Nebuchadnezzar had taken the smartest and brightest Jewish boys to train to be in his service. Three of these boys were known in their new land as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These boys knew that although they lived in a foreign land, they were still God's chosen people and they chose to live according to God's law and not the law of the land.
While in service for the king, King Neb decided that he liked himself enough to make a HUGE statue of himself, and he passed a law that when all the instruments sounded, everyone in the land would bow down and worship this image. However, the three Jewish boys knew the 10 Commandments. They worshiped God and God alone. So they did not bow down. Now, King Neb's men were NOT pleased with the three boys, so they decided to play the tattle tale and tell King Neb about the boys. We'll pick up the story with the King's men speaking to King Neb.
“12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
This is where the story gets good. Here is where we see the boys live out their faith. They know whose they are, and therefore know who they are. Here is their response to the King's threat.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Maybe we should read verse 18 again, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
These boys knew that God was ABLE to save them. They tell King Neb that very truth in verse 17, but then in verse 18 they let King Neb and everyone else know that even if God doesn't save them, they will still serve Him faithfully. They understood that knowing the truth was the most important thing. They trusted that God knew best. They knew the 10 Commandments and knew that in those 10 Commandments, the first one tells us not to have ANY other god's before God. They were obedient to what God said even when it might cost them their life. They knew that God was in control. They believed that being obedient to Him was worth dying for. They knew they belonged to God so the choice seemed clear to be obedient to Him at all costs.
If you don't know the rest of the story, King Neb is furious with this response. So he immediately throws them into the fiery furnace. But before he does, be has the heat turned up so high that the men assigned to putting the boys in the furnace burned up immediately trying to get the boys in the fire. However, the boys lived. They walked through the fire. And came out so untouched that Daniel 3 says not a hair on their heads were singed and there was no smell of fire on them. To which King Neb responded dramatically.
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
This story has a happy ending. Not all stories end with you not getting burned in the fire. But the point is not that God did save them, the point is that they knew He was able to save them. They also knew that they belonged to God and that truth very much influenced their decision to be obedient.
Do you know who God is? Do you know what He is capable of? Do you know that you belong to Him? If so, how does that truth affect the way you live on a daily basis?
Do you know WHOSE you are?
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