But If Not

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Daniel 3:18 “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.”

Nebuchadnezzar had set up his golden image and commanded that everyone in attendance bow down to it when the music was played. However, there were three Hebrew children that had previously determined they would not bow to this command because they only bowed to one person, and that was God. When word came to Nebuchadnezzar that these Hebrews did not bow, he gave them another chance to bow, but they made clear that it didn't matter how many chances he gave them, they were not going to bow. Nebuchadnezzar warned them that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace if they didn't bow. These Hebrews told Nebuchadnezzar that they would not bow and that God was able to deliver them from his furnace.

However, the greatest words these men spoke were, “But if not…” This was not a statement of doubt; rather, it was a statement that they were going to do right even if God chose not to intervene. What great faith! What great character! What great courage! They were saying that if God chose not to save them, they were still going to do right. They knew that God could save them, but they also accepted the fact that God doesn’t always intervene. These Hebrews said that they would do right even if God did not do things the way they wanted it to go.

My friend, God never promised that you would never have difficulties once you got saved; however, He did promise never to leave you in those difficulties. Let me ask you, if God chooses not to change your difficult times, do you have the same courage and character to serve God despite God not changing your situation? Several things you need to remember when God chooses not to change your situation.

First, when the “but if not” happens in your life, God is still God. God does not stop being God because your situation does not change. God is God in the good times, and He is still God in the bad times. God is God when life is going your way, and He is still God when life turns against you. When the “but if not” happens in your life, God is still God.

Second, when the “but if not” happens in your life, God still has the power to stop what you are going through. God has not lost His power just because He didn’t stop your situation. God’s power is not based on whether He changed your situation to your liking; He is still omnipotent and has the right to use His power according to what He knows is right.

Third, when the “but if not” happens in your life, God has the right not to change your situation. God doesn't have to get permission from you to do what He knows is best in your life. You are God’s creation and saved to serve Him and for His pleasure; therefore, He has every right to do in your life what He chooses, and His choosing is always right.

Fourth, when the “but if not” happens in your life, you must still choose to do what is right. My friend, the test of your character and loyalty to God is revealed when you continue doing right even He chooses not to change your bad situations in life. You will serve God for your whole life if you choose to serve Him even when He doesn't change your situations to your liking.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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