Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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.”
The Defense Rests
I like TV courtroom dramas. But I also know enough about the world to know that what you see on TV often doesn’t happen in real life. Like when a defendant’s lawyers decide that it’s in their client’s best interest that they not offer a defense. They’re convinced the prosecution has not met their burden of proof. So instead of offering their own set of facts and expert witnesses, they simply tell the judge, “The defense rests.”
Though it happens rarely, the Old Testament prophet Daniel tells us how his Jewish compatriots, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did just this when the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, accused them of treason. The king had commanded every one of his subjects to worship a ninety-foot image of gold he had built to honor himself. These three men refused. But instead of offering a single fact or argument as to why their refusal was lawful, they bravely told the king, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” The defense rests.
Why rest? Because they were right. God commands his people not to worship anyone or anything other than him. They were more concerned with obeying God than obeying any human being, even a king. And they knew that their God was perfectly capable of rescuing them if he so chose. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,” they told the king, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”
The model of these three men is important for us to ponder. Sometimes we are tempted to “argue people” into believing the truth about Jesus. But why? There is certainly a time and place for defending God’s Word, but I need to remember that God’s Word first defends me. I don’t back God up; he and his Word back me up.
God tells us that he forgives all sinners in Jesus, the risen Savior. In Jesus, he gives eternal life freely. That includes you. It’s just the truth. The defense rests.
Dear Jesus, help me simply to listen to and trust your Word of salvation. Amen.
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