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Daniel 3:15-18 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
According to the ‘Wiki’ – ‘Speaking truth to power is a non-violent political tactic, employed by dissidents against the received wisdom or propaganda of governments they regard as oppressive, authoritarian.’
Ancient Greeks had a word for this, ‘par-rhesia’ which literally means ‘truth force’. This means that if a person, or a group of people want to change a situation, they must not only reject the information that is being forced upon them, but use truth as a weapon to counter-act the lies being told by their oppressors. (Obviously, I’m going somewhere with this).
World changers like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Robert Kennedy, Mahatma Gandi, the Dalai Lama and others, have used his approach effectively to change their surroundings in spite of the propaganda of their times. But truth to power also has history in the bible. The three Hebrew young men in our text today gives us an excellent example of how to speak change in, and to a bad situation. They were offered the propaganda of their time, but spoke truth to those in power. Their outcome is a testimony for us today.
It takes guts and courage to speak to a powerful, but oppressive regime. And I find that these oppressive leaders all seen to follow the same playbook, and say the same things when they want to keep people down. I have come to the conclusion that the reason for this is that they are driven by the same demons of old, and demons don’t die.
Whether it is Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Pontius Pilot, Pinochet, Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin Saddam Husssien, or Hitler, they all do the same things. But isn’t it also interesting that God always has someone, somewhere willing to risk it all in order for someone else to be free? There is always someone willing to say out loud, ‘That may be information, but that is not the TRUTH’!
I believe that even today God is looking for just a few people that understand that there is a huge difference between information and truth. When we start speaking Truth to our situations, we will start to understand the power of ‘truth force’, and how it works like a bomb in spiritual warfare to change our situation into something good. It’s time to stop fact checking, and bring out the ‘Truth Bombs’!
Let’s go back to the text and see how this works. ‘The Boys’ as I will refer to them, and Daniel, were in Babylonian captivity. Captivity is a bad thing. These young men were placed in special quarters because the King of Babylon understood that there are people in every nation that can cause trouble due to their education, their wisdom, and their gifting. So in order to keep these people from causing uprisings throughout the kingdom, he kept them away from the other prisoners. The idea was to keep them quiet just long enough to indoctrinate them with propaganda so that they could be used for his purposes. They were fed special foods, and giving special drinks. This wasn’t because the King liked them mind you. It was all a part of keeping every one in oppression.
Daniel saw through this tactic immediately and refused to comply, but ‘The Boys’ went along with the program until they were set up for a day of reckoning. This confrontation came because there were those in Babylon who were jealous of them, and wanted to see them dead. But the devil is a liar!
We all know the story of how someone put it into the kings head that everyone should bow to him. This sacrilege became the last straw for the boys, because even though they were in a bad situation they never forgot that being a Hebrew meant that they would only worship the true and Living God.
I feel like preaching today that everyone has a day like this where they must choose to run, fight, or blend in. And many times God will place you into a situation so that you will actually know what is in your heart. You may not be as weak as you think you are!
The Boys did not bow when the music was played. When questioned about their refusal they gave all of us an answer for the ages. The information given to them was simple. We have a King that has ordered everyone to bow down. The penalty refusal is death. You didn’t bow therefore you must want to die. This King was powerful, but the Boys didn’t just accept the information that was given as credible enough to change actions. So instead of complying with the order, they spoke truth to power. Here is what they said:
- Mr. King, we don’t need time to answer you. Our minds are already made up.
- You asked us what god can save us. Our answer is simple. There is only One God and He is the God that we serve. HE WILL deliver us!
- And one more thing. Even if He chooses not to deliver us, we will die serving Him. So do your worst. Either way, God is going to show up! Drop the Mic!
So-called facts don’t change real faith. Information is not necessarily the entire truth. Information and facts can be manipulated. They can be presented in ways that are designed to change outcomes. So sometimes you have to speak Truth to your situation. The power of death and life are literally in your choice of words. (See Prov. 18:21).
The Boys stood up to power and just spoke truth. God did the rest. And just so we are clear about what I mean by truth, let me refresh your memory from the Word.
John 8:31-32 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 14:6-7 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Like The Boys, you can speak truth to power because you know The Truth. Don’t let life or your situation become a dictator to you. Life has power, but Our God has all power. You must learn to talk your way out of trouble, confusion, and hardship. The problem may be real, but the truth is ‘in there’, meaning in you. Speak Truth and watch situations change. Here is what God told Joshua:
Joshua 1:8-9 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
If that doesn’t encourage you I don’t know what will. This is truth to power.
The economy might say jobs are scarce, but truth says the Lord will make a way.
The devil says you are not saved, and doomed. But truth says that you are free indeed!
The internet is a power. TV is a power. Governments are powers. But remember the Truth:
Matthew 28:18 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Start each day by speaking truth to power in your life!
Bishop Horace Ransom Jr. is the Senior Pastor and Founder of New Covenant Church International in Detroit, Michigan. He is a Jurisdictional Bishop and serves on the Board of Presbytery for the Jabula International Network, North America. Bishop Ransom is an outstanding teacher of the Word of God with a passion for challenging believers to become the best that they can be. Faith, Purpose and the Kingdom of God are frequently the subject matter of his dissertation.