Cruising Route 66
“Exhausted Swatting at Flies”
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
I had a plaque on my wall long ago that read, “When a man exhausts himself swatting at flies, he is easily consumed when confronted by a lion.” There are many things coming our way that want to consume us and even more to distract and exhaust us. The Bible tells us that the lion that confronts us and most likely the one who works overtime to distract us is the enemy of our soul, Satan.
I Peter 5:8 “… Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Once we give our lives to the Lord, believe in Him, and trust His guidance, we are no longer subject to being consumed by the devil, but there are those pesky flies that continue to buzz around in our lives that can exhaust us.
Matthew 13:22 “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”
That decrepit old lion may have been defanged by God, thus unable to consume us, he nonetheless has the ability to distract us, stress us out, and keep us from fulfilling our greatest potential. Here are seven steps I believe can help keep the flies from winning and help you avoid becoming a lion lunch:
First, we must recognize the potential for distraction. The flies of sin and temptation tend to catch us off guard because we don’t see them coming. Though we may be aware that we are in a place that produces flies, we’ve gotten used to the buzzing.
When the golden image was constructed, it was just one more thing in the ongoing progression of Daniel’s life. After all, he was living under the rule of a tyrant. So one more statue, one more rule, and one more moral change didn’t create a great deal of stress until the king demanded that everyone compromise.
Our society has its fair share of statutes, few, if any, are golden, but it is creating a lot of situations requiring compromise. The world around us is becoming progressively more demanding that we accept things that are in direct conflict with our faith. It expects us to accept, adhere, approve, and conform. When we refuse, the world gets really ticked off.
Second. we must never forget that only God is in control.
Daniel 3:13-15 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Living in a world that continually tries to control our lives is a serious fly problem, but there’s an even bigger source of stress in our lives, and that’s our own desire to be in control. It is human nature to want to hold dominion, not only over our own lives but also the world around us. This desire is so strong it often supersedes God’s will or redefines it.
How often have you expected others to submit to our views, practices, plans, and rules? Does the stress level rise when you don’t get the response and submission you desired? Do you want peace in your life and less stress? Then reject the idea that you need to control the moment. Don’t be a Nebuchadnezzar, demanding adherence and control, expecting others to bow to what you have created. Take note of what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego recognized that many of us fail to see:
Daniel 3:16-18 replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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 want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They honored the authority and answered the king’s questions, but they did not need to defend their relationship with God. This freed them from the frustrating and all but impossible task of describing what could not be seen and explaining what could not be understood. They simply didn’t try to control the moment it was out of their hands.
They simply needed to make a choice, trust their own instincts, or place their trust in God. They placed it in the hands of God and believed that God would rescue them, either by sparing them from the fire or using the fire to take them home, they simply couldn’t lose. It was a win-win. Far too often we follow our gut, when we need to follow our God.
Until next time,