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::Devotional:: ‘I Pledge Allegiance’

July 2, 2009
In 1954 President Eisenhower encouraged congress to add the words under God to the pledge of allegiance.

In 1954 President Eisenhower encouraged congress to add the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance.

In my relatively short life I can remember a time when each day of school began with the Pledge of Allegiance.  As a little boy with my hand over my heart, standing up straight, I rhetorically proclaimed “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”  By the time I reached high school, the Pledge of Allegiance was no longer the declaration that started the day.  In fact, I rarely remember reciting it during that time period at all.  Pledging our allegiance gives us direction and focus.  It helps to remind us who we are and where we fit in; not only as U.S. Citizens but as believers as well.

The word allegiance is defined as “the loyalty of a citizen to his or her government or of a subject to his or her sovereign” by dictionary.com.  Perhaps defining it as “the loyalty of a citizen to his or her government and of a subject to his or her sovereign” would make it more applicable to the Christian life.

The book of Daniel in the Old Testament is a book of allegiance.  Daniel and his friends, though taken into captivity by the Babylonians, determined to remain loyal to their sovereigns.  They were loyal subjects to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonians,  and at the same time they did not compromise their loyalty to the supreme sovereign, God.

One of my favorite accounts of allegiance in this book is that of the three Hebrew young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young Hebrew captives had been loyal to King Nebuchadnezzar who rewarded them with positions over the affairs of the province of Babylon.  However when their loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar clashed with their loyalty to God, they stood firm in their allegiance to the almighty God.

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.  Daniel 3:14-15

I wonder if sometimes we don’t face similar situations as Christians?  Maybe we aren’t called to worship a golden image, or face the consequences of a blazing furnace; but I do believe we face the call of allegiance to God.  We are called to an allegiance to God anytime we are faced with the temptation to sin against him.  We must determine in our hearts, that we will remain loyal to King Jesus as his loyal subjects no matter what the consequences.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadenezzar, 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. Daniel 3:16-17

The scriptures clearly show us that God honors, protects, and ultimately delivers those who believe in and honor him.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:10-12

We have the great benefit of being able to read scriptures from both the Old Testament and New Testament that compliment each other so perfectly as these do.  Those words were spoken by King Jesus himself to all of his subjects who would face “blazing furnaces” and the like because they have pledged their allegiance to him.  It is important to remember at this point, that perspective is the key when determining in our hearts to remain loyal to King Jesus.  As a subject of King Jesus, our destination is eternity with him in the kingdom of heaven and it is quite possible that our deliverance from our “blazing furnaces” may not be seen during our earthly lifetime.  Our loyalty to King Jesus must come whether we are delivered in life or in death.  The motivation to remain loyal to King Jesus is not to be rescued from a bad situation we’re currently in.  Whether we make it out of that situation or not, we are called to remain loyal because he is King Jesus and we are his subjects.  Let’s take a look back at the motivation behind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s stand in allegiance to God.

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. Daniel 3:18

What a statement of eternal perspective.  If I may paraphrase a bit “Even if God does not rescue us from the death we will experience in the blazing furnace, we will not disobey him.  He has our allegiance to the grave and beyond.”  

I long for a faith like that, don’t you?  Just imagine how we could experience God in our earthly lives and for eternity.  Let’s determine in our hearts today to stand in allegiance for King Jesus, regardless of the consequences, for he is worthy.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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