Death is a mirror that gives us a glimpse of who we really are.
Death is a rearview mirror that puts the past into perspective.
And if anyone who ever walked this earth lived with an up close understanding of death- it was Jesus. He entered Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday long ago- with the mirror of death in mind. Purposeful, poised, and prepared. To put your past into perspective through His death.
The closer you and I come to death, the clearer and farther you can see. Nothing recalibrates priorities faster than a cancer screening, a car accident, or a visit from a military chaplain. Important things become all important. And unimportant things are revealed for what they are- insignificant.
Our story today about three teenage Hebrew boys may seem, at first, out of place on a Palm Sunday, but their all in commitment is one that I want us to examine as we consider Jesus’ entrance into the Holy City of Jerusalem. This is a story of matching talk with walk. Commitment and action meet at a place called integrity.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that if they refused to bow down to the ninety-foot tall statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, they would be executed. But these Jewish ex-pats feared God a lot more than they feared death. They would rather die by the flame than dishonor God. So they made a defining decision to stand up for what was right rather than bow down to what was wrong.
If, these three Jewish teenagers had compromised their integrity by listening to a rationalization-they would have been delivered from the fiery furnace. But their deliverance would have been by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, NOT by God’s intervention. These God followers would have forfeited their testimony by failing the test. While their lives would have been saved, they would have sacrificed their integrity.
It was their integrity that triggered a miracle. Their integrity that allowed God to show up and show off. Their integrity that was their fire insurance and life insurance.
Integrity comes from the root word integer. It refers to a whole number versus a fraction. In other words, integrity is all in. It does not look for an easy way out.
Is there anything you are bowing to? Then, it’s time to take a stand.
See you at the ‘all in’ place,