Careful To Answer

Posted on: June 11th, 2023

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were called before the king and faced charges of refusing to worship the golden image he had erected, Nebuchadnezzar asked, “Who is that god that shall deliver you out of my hands?” Things looked pretty dark. 

But they replied, “We have no need to answer thee in this matter”. The King James version reads, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter” (Dan 3:15-16). The thought seems to be, we will not choose our words carefully —- concerned lest we offend; we will not try to “talk our way out of” this situation. And they added, “Our God is able to deliver us” (of it suits His purposes to do so) “but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Several years back a preacher said John (the Immerser) “lost his head” because he “lost his head” —- he was not tactful in his criticism of Herod. John had said, of Herod’s marriage to his brother Philip’s wife, “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matt 14).

John was not “careful to answer,” someone might say. Well, he certainly was not trying to “butter up” the king. On the other hand, John and the captive Jews of Daniel 3, were very careful to maintain their faith in God and to court His approval. John lost his head, and the three Hebrews were thrown into the fiery furnace, but each gained more than he lost. We “have no need” for any man’s approval as we have need for God’s approval. Jesus said, “Fear not those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” (Matt 10:28).

We are not advocating crudeness! Daniel’s brethren were respectful to the king; and love for souls will forbid our becoming a bully with the truth. Shouting, stomping pronouncements of Damnation are often signs of weakness, while genuine strength is accompanied by humility. But genuine strength speaks truthfully, directly and clearly, regardless of temporal consequences —- and because of inevitable eternal consequences.