There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
When is it right for me to stand for the Lord and against the rule or authority of men?
We come to the Book of Daniel in Chapter Three. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow the golden statue made by the King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had commanded them to worship and bow to the statue. The King was asking them to do something that went against God.
Exodus 20:1-6 ESV
And God spoke all these words, saying,  “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  “You shall have no other gods before me.  “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
He’s forcing that on them to worship him. It’s incredible constraint to put this on others. It goes completely goes against God’s commandment. How many other Jewish exiles are there that actually bowed? The commandment is very clear, and I love the stance that is made by these young men is so important. How many of us are doing the same being defiant and standing rejecting God? Maybe you reject the bible because you think it has errors, you reject the bible because it isn’t relevant to our time, you reject that Satan is real, you reject a literal heaven & hell, you reject moral stance the Bible takes on marriage. Many followers of Christ believe these things in our culture many have built large statues or idols in defiance of God and his word in their own life.
But wait then you read in the Book of Romans 13. that we are be subject to the governing authorities.
Romans 13:1-5 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
“The closer God is to a government and its citizens, the more ordered the society will be. The further God is from a government and its citizens, the more chaotic the society will become.” Dr. Tony Evans
So, when do I stand?
Today everyone wants to fight over everything. Political divide, Medical Mandates, Social issues, School Boards it seems like all of it is just a reason to argue and being defiant. But when is right to stand? I have had conversations about medical mandates and vaccines quite often this past month. What is a conviction from the Lord, and do I have a conviction from the Lord?
Romans 13:5 ESV
Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
I love the way Warren explains this piece of scripture.
“Any citizen can obey the law because of fear of punishment, but a Christian ought to obey because of conscience. Of course, if the government interferes with conscience, then the Christian must obey God rather than human authority.”
We can always find examples in scripture.
The king of Egypt wanted to kill all the Hebrew son’s that were born and thrown into the Nile.
Exodus 1:15-22 ESV
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah (Ship-prah) and the other Puah,  “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”  But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.  So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?”  The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”  So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.  Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
They didn’t follow the order from the king of Egypt because it goes directly against the law of God. Midwives “Fear God” and didn’t do it but let the male children live. Sadly, this past election we saw many vote in a way that was driven by emotions and feelings towards a candidate. Christians actually choose to vote for someone that was for abortions or supporting the LBGTQ community both going against the Word of God. We are called to stand for the Lord. Not bow down to our emotions and feelings and political pressure. We need to answer the question are we seeking first the kingdom of God?
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Many of us have been running on emotions and making decisions in haste. I know during 2020 I had to stop myself I was arguing over every mandate and causing division, I wasn’t really trying to be a peacemaker. I was fueled by too much news, politics chaos, and medical mess. It was driving my day. Your probably thinking wait you’re a Christian that shouldn’t be happening, your right, but it did. Repentance was necessary. I turned off the news and social networks. I remembered a verse when I first came to Christ that really stuck with me and help me focus properly.
Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
So we set out heart and minds on the things from above and seek the things from above we place Christ and we filter the world through the lens of scripture. Lord will let us know when it is time to stand.
The Apostle Peter stood before the council knowing they could be killed for sharing about Jesus, yet they kept doing it.
Acts 5:27-33 ESV
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them,  saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”  When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.
“We must obey God rather than men.” Powerful statement.
Finally in the Book of Esther. Mordecai emphasized that Esther being in the palace was not an accident, for she had “come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
Esther 4:14 ESV
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
We see three men standing against a king and here Esther answering the call to knowing the circumstances were dire and they may be killed in the process. God will give us opportunities to stand and yet some will choose to bow, but it doesn’t stop the Lord’s plan. God will find someone else to come off the bench and, in the game, if you will not. God’s plans go forward. God wants us to be a part of it, but if not, God will move on to someone else. In the Book of Mark, the Gentile woman says the two words we all need to say when the Lord calls on us to stand “Yes Lord” if you say no Lord, He isn’t your Lord.
Mark 7:28 ESV
But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.”
Church I believe we have much to stand for today. Remember a conviction is something that God places on your heart and you must obey. I always look to obey the authorities over me and respect the offices they hold, but if goes against the Word of God or against something the Lord has placed on my conscience or my heart then I must obey God rather than men. I hope this helps bring some understanding to this topic. Just trust God, Fear God rather than Men and obey God rather than men.
Pastor Michael Petit