Have you ever heard the term “gold digger”? This term usually refers to a woman that dates a man for his money rather than for who he is. If we are honest with ourselves, we could easily make the case that we are gold diggers with God. We love Him based on what He can give us rather than for who He is. If things are going well we love Him, but once things turn ugly we are quick to become bitter, angry, and distant towards God. In the midst of life’s difficult and unpredictable circumstances, how do we love God? Within the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we will find one of the most profound verses found within the Bible that answers this question.
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar is known as the “king of kings”. He is a violent and powerful leader who believes in his own gods. At one point, he created a gold statue 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. He ordered everyone to bow down and worship that image. He made a bold and terrifying statement saying that “whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (Daniel 3:6). Scary right? Despite this unfair, dark, and difficult situation, there were three men who refused to worship any god other than God Almighty. King Nebuchadnezzar confronted these three men: Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego to give them one last chance to worship the image of gold. Their response to King Nebuchadnezzar is one of the boldest statements in all of Scripture. It reveals a very profound truth of what it means to love God in the midst of life’s difficult and unpredictable circumstances. They said, “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” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Did you catch that?! They said even if God does not save them, they will still serve Him. Are they crazy?! They believe God can and will save them, but aren’t one-hundred percent certain He will do so, yet they still choose to serve Him. I would be tempted to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s gold image and worship it. That would be a very easy way to save my life and escape a painful death, yet these three men refused to do so. Why? They realized what it means to love God. They realized that we love God not for what He gives or withholds from us, but for who He is. Because of this, they were willing to love God whether He saved them or not.
How many times does our love for God fluctuate based on circumstances? In one season of life we may be healthy, well off financially, and socially happy. In another season we may be sick, struggling financially, and socially unhappy. In life’s difficult and unpredictable circumstances, how do we love God? We love God for who He is, not for what He gives or withholds from us.
I am so sick of people who are my friend simply for what they can benefit from me. They care more about what I can give them rather than who I am. We hate it when people do this to us, so why do it to God? Why is it that when our circumstances change, our love for God changes with it? It is because we have become complacent with loving God for what He can do for us rather than for who He is.
Let’s strive to love God for who He is, not for what He gives us. When we do this, we are able to love Him in the midst of any circumstance. Sure, you may not feel those lovey-dovey feelings of infatuated love towards God in difficult times, but thankfully love is more than a feeling. Love is a choice that says “I will love you in the midst of my success and sufferings because you are God and I love you for you.” Thankfully for us, God loves us for who we are, not for what we can give Him. And because God loves us in this way, we are able to love Him and others in the same way.
Will you be a gold digger Christian and love God based on what He gives and withholds from you, or will you love Him for who He is?