I have always greatly admired three young Hebrew men, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Along with their more famous friend, Daniel, they were taken captive when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem around 605 BC.
They were carried off to Babylon, a culture that was totally alien to them. There, they were stripped of their Hebrew names and given the names that will be more familiar to most Christians: Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego. They were trained in the bureaucracy of Babylon, and through their integrity rose to high positions within that system. No doubt they were reasonably comfortable in their situation there.
Then there came the challenge. Nebuccadnezzer, the king, had a massive idol erected in the middle of the town, and declared that every time the band started to play, everyone had to bow down to it. Anyone who did not would be thrown into the furnace.
The three lads knew this was not an area in which they could compromise. YHWH’s first law was that they should have no other gods; and His second was that they should not bow down to idols. They refused to bow, even though they knew their stand would have consequences.
Those who were jealous of them were quick to report their lack of compliance to the king. They knew their God was well able to deliver them from their situation, but they also accepted that, in His purposes, their deaths may achieve more than their deliverance. So, when they answered the king, they said, “Our God is able to deliver us, and He will, but even if He does not, WE WILL NOT BOW to your idol.”
We all know the outcome: they were thrown into the fire, where a fourth figure was seen walking around with them. The king called them to come out, and they came out without so much as the smell of smoke on their clothes. A great miracle.
Yet, to me, the greater story is not the miracle, but the faith and faithfulness of these three young men.
Today, an idol has been raised up in our world, an idol by the name of Islam. Sadly, many western leaders, even many Christians, are bowing before it. Unlike Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, they are not able to see the difference between this idol and the God of the Bible. Or maybe they are just so afraid of what they have seen done in the name of this idol that they are willing to kowtow to save their necks (true Islamophobia – fear of Islam.) Some preachers have gone so far as to allow worship of this false god into their churches.
Make no mistake, the god of Islam is not the God of the Bible. Jesus Christ very clearly declared Himself to be God in the flesh, and constantly referred to God as His Father. Islam declares that “god has no son” and calls Jesus just a prophet, and a lesser prophet than Mohammed, at that. Thus it blasphemes Him both by denying His divinity and by calling Him a liar.
The idol has been raised up. All are expected to bow, to declare Islam a religion of peace in spite of the atrocities commanded by the Koran and carried out in the name of Islam. To welcome Islam, ignoring both its stated intention of taking control in every country where it can gain a foothold and its proven record of doing exactly that. To whitewash its treatment of women and children, and its denial of basic human rights. To place its god above the God of the Bible. Those who will not bow are at best labelled racists (even though Islam is not a race) and bigots. They can expect some of their friends to desert them. At worst, they may be placed on Islamic hit lists, sentenced to death for daring to stand against the idol. And so, the west bows.
Well, I am here today to say, enough is enough. I cannot make a choice for others, but I can for myself. I know there may be consequences for my stand. I believe my God is able to protect me from (or in) those consequences, but I understand that His purposes may be better served by allowing me to go through them. Whatever way, I will trust Him.
I WILL NOT BOW TO THE IDOL OF ISLAM.