17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
These three words have impacted me so much …“BUT IF NOT”! These three young men went from being praisers on that day to being TRUE worshippers! They basically said… “we know that God CAN do it, but even if he chooses not to do it we will still worship HIM! We know that God can keep us safe, but even if He doesn’t and allow calamity to come upon us, it doesn’t change the way we feel about Him!! Help us Lord to say “BUT IF NOT!”
God’s people go through some hard rough and trying times, but if they can stay true to God, and learned how to worship in the hard times, eventually God brings them through and blessed them more mightily than ever before! You might be in the furnace now, but learn how to worship! You might be stripped down to nothing now, but learn how to worship! You might have lost everything, but learn how to worship, God’s not thru yet! Unfortunately, we often seek what God can do for us, and neglect having an intimate relationship with Him. We want the blessing of God, and fail to come union with Him. We are adept in praise, but we never really worship.
Can we as the church truly worship God even when HE it appears that He is not blessing? Can we yet worship when it appears that He is taking things from us? When we are seemingly being attacked on every side, emotionally, spiritually and physically?
My heart is heavy as I think of the horrific event that took place in Charleston, South Carolina a few days ago. Yet to hear the words of forgiveness spoken by the families affected embolden me even more to operate in the love of Christ. Can you hear him from the cross saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. They have chosen not to serve the king of this world that says hate, demand and seek revenge. But instead they released their grip on anger and embraced their arms around unexplainable love.
True worshippers are shown at this time. It is much more than lip service and even church actions. Yeah I know we volunteer to clean up the church building and serve in the different ministries, but that is not worship. That is works and in the realm of His Kingdom Jesus says that worshippers are wanted and preferred not workers.
Let me end with this… the world will know us by our love, not our religious sayings, not our righteous indignation, not our Bible thumping or our condemning others. Until we can love our enemies and pray for them who despitefully knowingly use us, they will not see Christ. They will see Christians. Mahatma Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I understand and agree with what he was saying. My prayer and desire is to be a follower of Christ so that He may be seen even in the “but if not” times. If He does not heal me, if he does not let me work where I desire, make the money I should rightfully make, or if I do not get the girl or the guy or the house I desire, I choose to worship Him. If I am never known or recognize outside of my small circle I will worship Him. Understand this, He can deliver us oh king…BUT IF NOT……