Shadrach, Meshach, and… Back to School

back to school

“She told me to do it.”

This was my son’s response when asked why he had wrapped shoe strings around a toy making a terrible knotted mess.

“But you know you aren’t supposed to do that with those strings.”

“But she told me to do it.”

Honestly, I was a little surprised that my daughter had that much influence over her older brother’s actions. And that he thought this line of defense would make what he had done all right.

My son is definitely an “oldest child”… like his mother. He likes to be in charge and tell others what to do. I often hear him talking to his sister as if he were her parent rather than her brother and peer.

Lately, there have been moments when I have told my daughter to do something only to hear my son tell her to do something different… usually the opposite of what I have just told her. And I could be mistaken, but there’s usually a mischievous twinkle in his eye because he knows just what he is doing… trying to get his sister in trouble.

In the midst of these situations, the Spirit has reminded me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Three men who, when faced with death, choose to follow God’s ways rather than appease the king and culture. They choose to do what was right and good and true.

Isn’t that what we want for our children? We want them to desire to follow Jesus and His ways even when their friends and culture around them attempt to persuade them to do otherwise. And we want them to encourage their friends (and siblings!) to do what is right, true, and good as well.

So, our family has started considering the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found in Daniel 3… particularly as the kids begin a new school year. What did the king want these young men to do? And why was that wrong? What would happen if they didn’t obey the king? What did everyone else do? Why didn’t they obey the king? And what was the result? And who was in the fire with them?

And as we have focused on this story as a family, it has begun coming up naturally throughout our daily living… particularly when one child is blaming another for their own poor choices. “Remember, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Remember that they choose to do what was right even when others told them not to. We need to remember to do what is right even when others don’t want us to.”

As my children go back to school this year, it is my prayer that the story of these three Israelite men would be imprinted on their hearts and serve as a reminder that following Jesus is better than doing what others tell them to. I’ve also been praying that God would send my kiddos friends like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that they could encourage each other in following Jesus and choosing what is good, true, and right.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King 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 deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  Daniel 3:16-18

Mom and Dad, is there a Bible story that your family has been focusing on lately? I’d love to hear it! What ways are you considering it as a family and practically applying it to your family’s daily living?

O Father, You are so good to us. Thank you for the stories in Your Word that remind us of who You are, and how faithful You are to your children. They tell us that you use broken, imperfect people, and inspire us to live lives that bring You glory. As we parent our children and teens, remind us of the stories in Your Word that might inspire our children to follow You. Use Your Word to speak to their hearts and guide their living. May they be fully aware that You speak to them through Your Word too. Thank you, Father. Amen.

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