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Andy Hancock

Stand Together

Your heart pounds as the moment nears, there’s activity all around you but all you can think about is what you agreed to the night before. You know it’s coming, you know everyone said they’d do it but somehow doubt still lingers.

Will you be the only one? Will everyone else live up to their word? What if I’m the last one standing? And then, it happens. A split second you look around to see if the others are in, and they are! This is it. The moment you talked about. No turning back now. Everyone can see that you’re part of the uprising.

In the book of Daniel we meet 3 mates who agree to an uprising; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar (King Neb for short) had ordered that everyone should bow down and worship a statue of himself when the music played, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused.

They were part of God’s chosen people, they knew that they shouldn’t worship anyone else apart from God, but King Neb had threatened that anyone who doesn’t worship his statue will be killed.

Imagine the moment when the decree was issued, I bet their hearts sank. They would have known the dilemma this put them in. That night they gathered together at Meshach’s house over some pitta bread and hummus, trying to figure out what to do. Plans of escape routes, compromise and even assassination cross their minds.

They spend some time praying and after a while Abednego says “What if we just stand?” Fear grips them all, Shadrach knows instantly its the right thing to do but tries to justify a reason not to, “God wouldn’t want us dead!” Meshach jumps in “Exactly, if we stay standing, God will protect us.”

They discuss for hours and eventually agree to stay standing when the music plays rather than taking a knee. They go to bed for a few hours of nervous sleep before heading into work the next day to anxiously await the sound of the first horn.

Being part of an uprising like this is no easy task. These boys are faced with the choice of compromise or death. Whilst none of us will face such intense choices, we are constantly faced with opportunities to stand up for what we believe in, stay faithful to the calling God has given us or to compromise and go with the flow.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew what they stood for, they knew who they were - God’s chosen people. Knowing who they were meant that they wouldn’t fall to their knees for King Neb’s statue. Unless you know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything. If we’re going to be part of an uprising, THE uprising then we must know that we are set apart by God, chosen, loved and accepted.

Our identity and strength comes from knowing who it is and what it is that we stand for. But we don’t stand alone.

I love that there’s three of them. I don’t think this story would exist if it was Shadrach on his own. I don’t think Meshach would have been strong enough by himself. Abednego couldn’t have come up with a plan without his two mates by his side.

The three friends together stood for what they believed in. I love picturing the scene, as everyone around them kneeled before the statue and they could see each other standing up tall - I imagine them giving each other nods to say ‘Come on, we can do this!’.

In Hebrews 10:24 it says ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds’ and that’s exactly what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did for each other, they cheered each other on. The brilliant news is that we are not an uprising of one, we don’t serve God alone, we are an uprising of God’s people who spur, cheer and push one another on toward the plans and purposes God has for you. This movement is called the church!

If you’re the only Christian in your school, find yourself some Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego friends who’ll help you stand when everyone else kneels. The friends we have around us are so important when we’re part of an uprising, they’ll either help us stand or pull us down. Set up WhatsApp groups to encourage each other, meet together to pray at break times, find ways to spur each other on.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took a stand together and if you read on in Daniel 3 you’ll see that God turns up (literally) and the uprising takes shape, but it all started with those three mates taking a stand.

God is calling each of us to be part of The Uprising but in order to be part of it we need to know who’s we are, what we stand for and who stands with us. Pick your mates wisely, spur each other on and remind each other that you are chosen by God to be part of his rescue plan for the world.

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