to glorify God... one thought at a time

to glorify God... one thought at a time

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Fiery Furnace (part 5)

Here we go into chapter 3.  Remember that in Chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that bothered him so badly, he couldn't sleep.  Desperate to find out the meaning, he summoned all the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to help him.  He asked them to tell him the dream and then it's meaning.  If they could not, he would have them cut into pieces.  

The kingdom's weather report called for a whole lot of body parts until Daniel and his boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego prayed to God for the answers and received them.  Daniel told the meaning of the dream about this image and what it meant in the kings life.  If you need a refresher, peak back at part 4.

So when I opened the pages of chapter 3, I was amazed to see the first sentence. "King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon."  Really Neb?  Really?  Then I thought, how many times are we warned in life that if we walk too close to that sin we will be sucked in, yet we keep walking the line.  We think, for whatever reason, that we will be able to withstand the temptation.  Well, we need to think again and apparently so does Nebuchadnezzar.

The story goes on to say that the king calls all of his officials and announces that as soon as anyone in the kingdom hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, people were to fall down and worship the golden image or there was a fiery furnace waiting for them.   Of course our friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not follow suit, so they were reported to the king.  

When Nebuchadnezzar told these three the decree again, their answer made me laugh.  In verse 16 the reply goes like this “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter."  They go on to tell him that God will deliver them, but even if He didn't, they would never bow down to the golden image or any other god.

Are you that strong?  Have you been able to stand up in this kind of heat, no pun intended?  I for one, have not been able to on many occasions.  Have you been put in a situation to bow down to some other god's golden image?  If we are thinking literally, most of us could probably say no, but let's get real here.  How about gossip?  If someone is speaking ill of someone else, can we be strong enough to say "O ________, we have no need to let our conversation go this way.  I refuse to gossip as it is not of my God."  What about the television?  "O remote, we have no need to stop at that channel.  The temptation it causes is too much and my God will deliver me from it if I refuse it."  OK, some of you may be feeling pretty good.  How about "O devil, we have no need to be tempted by that addiction, because when I resist, you have to flee." (James 4:7) Or maybe "O thoughts, we have no need to think on that fear because God's word says to trust Him."

Remember in chapter 2, after our boy Neb finds out the meaning of the dream, the king gives God the props and promotes Daniel.  The king even granted Daniels wish to have Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be over the affairs of the province of Babylon.  Now, one chapter later, the same three are facing a fiery furnace at the hand of their pal Nebuchadnezzar.

One more point before we go and we will finish the chapter next time.  Have you ever kept company that you know you shouldn't.  Someone who has hurt others, yet you thought if they were your friend they wouldn't hurt you?  Can I tell you from experience, this is not the case.  Things may seem OK for a while, however, that person will turn on you quicker than you can say "crazy traitor say what?".  1 Corinthians 15:33 says "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'."   Over and over again, the bible tells us that we need to be careful who we hang around.  It tells us that evil waits at the door for us, and even if we don't open the door to sin, it will spring up from it's crouched position the minute we crack it open for something that isn't that bad.  

I saw a church sign that said "A half truth is a whole lie."  This comment is truer than we want to believe.  If something you enjoy is even 1% bad, it's all bad.  There are two percentages of sin, 0% and 100%.  If we listen to music that has a great beat, yet the lyrics are downright wrong, the entire song is wrong.  If the faith based book we are reading is by and author that believes the bible is 99% true, than the author is 100% avoidable.  We are responsible, as Christians, for what we read, who we support, who we stand behind and who we admire. 

Obviously, the three in this chapter cannot avoid the king, however they do need to respect him.  In Daniel, you never see the three as they are being questioned by the king, disrespect him.  They do not listen to his request but they do not disrespect him.  1 Peter 2:13 says "Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable."  Remember, it does not say bow down to them, it says to be submissive and treat them with respect.  I would guess that at this point in Daniel, king Nebuchadnezzar has become unreasonable.  So let's read the rest of the chapter and meet back here again to see what happens with our three amigos.  Let's pray:

"Lord, I pray for this chapter.  Even as I write, You are bringing things to mind that I bow to each day that is not of You.  Your word says that if we just bow to You, You will lead us where we need to be.  It seems weird to thing that when we respect those in authority, even if we don't agree with them, that we are bowing to you.  It's kind of backwards, however, in chapter 2, Lord, You say that You set up the kings and remove them.  So crazy as it sounds, You allow us to face blazing furnaces now and again for Your purpose.  Thank You for using us God, even if we don't quite understand how.  Lord, I pray for all who are reading to have their eyes opened to what You want them to see in this chapter.  Lord, I pray for lives to be changed as we try to carry on our journeys with a little Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in each of us.  Thank You for Your word and for letting us be able to read it.  It's in Jesus name that I ask these things~Amen."