Friday, July 14, 2017
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Look, a lot of toys come and go with this year's fads. But there are a few classic toys that just keep showing up in generation after generation-like Play-Doh, for example. I mean, who hasn't either owned some Play-Doh or bought some for a child or tried to get it out of the carpet? I mean, look, it's great stuff! You take it out of its' can and it's in the shape of the can it came in. But that changes quickly, depending on what you want to make of it. You can make that colored clay round like a ball, or you can make it into a pancake, or you can make it into two or three objects with different shapes. Play-Doh just takes on whatever shape you want it to be.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Play-Doh People".
Play-Doh toy, that's good. Pay-Doh people, not good. And a lot of people are-their shape is determined by the people they're with at the time.
Our word for today from the Word of God gives us an unforgettable example of some people who rose above the "Play-dohness" that most folks have. (That's not a word, but it is now.) Daniel 3 is where we find it. The pagan King Nebuchadnezzar builds a ninety-foot, gold image of himself and gives this command to everyone in his kingdom, "You must fall down and worship the image...whoever does not...will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." (Daniel 3:5-6) That turned out to be a great motivation to conform that day. The Bible says, "All the peoples...fell down and worshipped the image" (Daniel 3:7).
That is "all" except for three Jewish, young men whose loyalty to Jehovah God would not let them bow down. In Daniel 3:17, they tell the king, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we will not serve your gods." Everybody else was Play-Doh, squeezed into the shape their culture said they had to be in.
You remember that God sends a fourth man into that fire with these three men, who the soldiers said looked like the Son of God. "Then Nebuchadnezzar said, 'Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego...They trusted in Him and defied the king's command..." This is the king they defied saying this. "...and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.'" The king then decreed that anyone who spoke against Jehovah would be executed. Oh, by the way, the Bible says, "The king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."
Wow! You talk about heavy pressure to compromise what you believe. That sound familiar? These three guys refused to be Play-Doh because they were rocks. Folks squeeze Play-Doh people into the shape they want them to be. But not the Rock People-no, they're solid all the way through, and no one can change their shape. It's set. So which one are you? At school, at work, out for a good time, in the way you do business, in your love life? Play-Doh - Rock?
No matter who you are, you are part of some culture or some subculture, and that culture has its definition of what is cool, what is acceptable and what is expected. If you're part of some corporate culture, for example, you know there are things they expect of their people. But some of those things are a betrayal of Jesus. Or the culture of your family, or the youth culture, or the academic culture you're in. In academia, there's always the temptation to compromise Biblical standards to do what your discipline says is intellectually or artistically or scientifically respectable.
Only you can answer this, but have you been too much like Play-Doh? Have you compromised things that really matter to your Savior so you can fit in to the mold of other people? That's a price too high to pay. Listen to your Lord: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
You've been Play-Doh long enough - too pliable. Let Jesus make you a rock for Him-solid all the way to the center; too strong for anybody to squeeze into another shape.