Daniel and the Three Levels of Faith

Daniel 3: 17-18 discusses Daniel’s friends and their unwillingness to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s Giant golden Statue.

17″If it be so, our God whom we serve is able* to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will** deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18″But even if*** He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

I love this passage because I think it subtly outlines three levels of Faith, some of which are common, and some extraordinary.

1. God is able
2. God is willing (God will act)
3. But if not…

The first level of faith is that God is able to do something- this is not a hard achievement of faith to have as a Christian. It ought not be a stretch to say that God can do what we ask Him for. In this case, all three of Daniel’s friends knew God was able to save them.

The second level is the confidence that God will do what you are asking of Him (like maybe save you from a fiery furnace that is 7 times hotter than normal). A righteous confidence should come from our ability to discern God’s will through prayer, worship, etc. This level of faith is a bit more challenging because there is more risk involved, but nevertheless, many have it.

The third level of faith is demonstrated by the “but if not” statement. This verse shows the maturity of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their total commitment to God’s will whether they are consumed by flames or live to worship Him another day. It seems to me that this is a precious, rare kind of faith.

The Market of Values

Are your values for sale?

Eventually, someone will beckon you to exchange your values for an empty promise. For the hedonist, nearly all of his values have a price for pleasure. For the businessman, his word may be worth a golden transaction. For the athlete, the competitive edge could be worth the bargaining of an honest victory. Whoever you are, whatever you do, and wherever you go, someone is vying for your business. Someone is willing to make a deal.

Like an ancient marketplace, we are bombarded with offers in the market of values. The market is loud, distracting, and dusty. It is a never-ending well of discontentment and unrest. In the daylight, there are exchanges of honor for dishonor and the truth for lies. By night, sex for silver is the deal of the day. The market offers a temporal solution for an eternal problem. The finite promises to quench eternal desires.

The flashy bargains fade. The soul has no price in this dark economy. Do not be enamored by the empty promises of the market of values. Cling to the Unchanging, for you are already bought with a price.