What if the glory was only in the next life? What if we were to serve God here and never reap any reward until then? Would we still cling to Him? Would we still believe in His goodness and power?
The Bible is full of promises even for this life, yet some people are taken early and some have very difficult lives. When life doesn’t make sense, will we still love and serve?
I used to be haunted by the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald lyric, “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”
I’m no longer haunted by it – God’s love goes nowhere. God still loves us when we’re going through trials, and we should still love Him back. What we are subject to in this fallen life changes neither God’s objective worthiness nor His loving nature.
It’s important to get this right. Because if we’re serving for earthly rewards only, our relationship with God is selfish and we are going to fall when the tests come. And come they will, and indeed their purpose is to purge us of wrong motives.
All that can be shaken will be shaken, we are warned. The one motivation that cannot be shaken is to seek the manifest glory and love of God.
The three young Hebrews knew that.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.
“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.
“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.” – Da 3:16-18
That’s an excellent attitude.
- While they were respectful, their faith was subject to no man. No authority can rival God’s authority.
- They believed that God was able to deliver them.
- They believed that God would deliver them!
- But even if, according to God’s unassailable wisdom He declined to deliver them, they were still going to remain faithful.
The three Hebrews were in a tough position, but all saints should count on trials that test their motivations. If we want to pass the tests and receive the promotions that last, those which come not from man, but from God, it is essential that our motivation is true.