God Rewards Faithfulness: Good morning my friends, Being faithful to God in times of trail, testing and fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prove faithful and He rewards them.
I’ve got that Friday feeling 🙂 The weekend is coming and I’ve only got a few things to do before Saturday; A funeral this afternoon for a 92 year old man and the CRU (Youth Group) tonight, who’re making pancakes. We’ve also got our grandchildren and daughter staying for a few days whilst her bathroom is being renovated. Life is busy, but good. How’s your weekend looking?
Today is the day we finally get to see what happened when three of God’s chosen people refused to bow the knee and worship a created idol. Yes they aroused the King’s anger and rage. Yes they ended up being thrown into the fire, but WOWzer! They also get another transforming experience of God’s power over nature and the schemes of evil men.
INTO THE FIRE:
Daniel 3:19-30 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude towards them changed. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual
20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,
27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Firstly notice: Fury, Anger and Rage will lead men to do the most evil things. We mustn’t make any mistakes, because King Nebuchadnezzar was a very powerful king. He’d conquered much of the Middle East and now commanded the obedience of millions of people, but three young Jewish men refused to obey him; no wonder then his anger was roused.
But what would have happened if he’d been less rash? What if he’d taken time to sit down and discuss this willingness to die rather than worship another person’s god? He may have discovered in a less dramatic way the God of the Universe is real, powerful and commands obedience even of great kings.
Secondly Remember: Nebuchadnezzar had stated in yesterday’s reading; “What god is more powerful than me, who can rescue you from the fire?” He thought himself untouchable, above everything and everyone, even the gods. We know there is only ONE God, but this account in chapter 3 reveals just how blinded men had become, their awareness of the true and living God was much like the people of our own day who think belief in Jesus or God an irrelevance to modern living. Faith and trust in God are outmoded because we’ve moved on from superstitious things like that 🙂 How foolish the people of the world are. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride led him into the most evil cruelty in his dominance of others, thinking nothing of human life, using fear and domination to get his own way. However, his intimidation of the three young men didn’t work.
Thirdly Notice: When they are thrown into the heat of the ten-times-hotter oven, though they were bound and helpless, the next time we hear about them, they are walking in the midst of the fire and heat and smoke without being harmed. The King was obviously sitting in a position where he could observe them being thrown into the furnace. He must have imagined that death would be instant, but here they were walking in the fire.
My friends, the people of this world are often totally amazed at how believers cope when the fiery trials come. It’s because at those times, God’s presence is known more keenly than at any other times in our life. That has happened to many of my friends and countless brothers and sisters throughout history. In the heat and smoke of disaster, God comes and brings relief, comfort and courage to face the flames. They’d trusted God with their lives and He’d proven to be faithful, present and powerful.
When you trust God in the HEAT: He’s promised to be with you too. Now we know that not everyone gets the kind of DELIVERANCE Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego enjoyed; because some of God’s chosen ones died at the hands of evil men; John the Baptist lost his head to an evil King, Stephen was stoned to death for proclaiming Jesus Christ as God’s Son. So sometimes being a believer won’t mean rescue from the trial, but we can be confidently assured that when we endure with faith, hope and trust, God will ultimately deliver us; either in this life or the next. That’s the confidence the three young men had too.
It’s my hope and prayer that your trials will lead to promotion as it had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but what’s more important for us to consider is the outcome of their faithful witness; not their promotion, but that God gets the GLORY. Because of what they did, being prepared to die for their beliefs, God Himself Gets the HONOUR and GLORY and PRAISE of the King of an vast Empire, Babylon would now honour God Almighty. Hallelujah. Praise the LORD!
Has there been a time in your life when you could say, “God Rewards Faithfulness?” or “The Lord has rewarded my faithful service?” Sometimes it’s just a feeling of deep peace or joy and gladness, but at others we receive great blessings from the LORD.
So our promotion or demise will both bring glory to the LORD, that’s what the Christian life is all about. When we get the revelation that it’s much more abut Him than Us, then we’ll experience the JOY unspeakable. Let that JOY flood your soul today as you praise HIM, and you sing of HIS glory, power and might. Honour God and even if the world throws you into fires and flames you’ll be lifted higher than you can ever imagine and they will stand agog in amazement.
Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends.
P.S. I do hope you’ve enjoyed our dip into the little book of Daniel this week. But please do continue reading, there’s so much more, but don’t just read it through quickly, take time to meditate upon each and every even within the book, you’ll be astounded at how valuable it is to take a week to look at a single story as we have. You’ll get fresh revelation for your life as a believer in the world today by thinking things through with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember my motto: “No READ, No FEED” If I don’t read the Bible I don’t eat breakfast. Why because going hungry reminds me I’ve skipped my ‘spiritual’ breakfast. I need God every day, and I’m not ashamed to admit I can’t do anything apart from Jesus, so I need to come to Him, to be filled afresh and fed by Him every day. If I skip Bible devotion I know I’m going to get hungry spiritually, I’ll feel the darkness creeping in, and it really does in tangible ways. Come afresh to Jesus every day and you’ll continue in the light of life.
Finally (Again) 🙂 I’ve been left with a Question that’s been bugging me all week. I’ve been pondering over it and wondering. “Where was Daniel when his friends were being thrown into the fire?”
Perhaps, because the King knew Daniel would never bow the knee, he’d sent him away to protect him from his own decree. Let us not forget that Daniel had already won the king’s favour, because he’d recounted and interpreted the dreadful dream.
What do you think my friends, where was Daniel?
Over the next few weeks I’ll be moving over 400 Daily Devotions for you to enjoy at your leisure.
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