God never promises to keep us from the fire, rather He does promise to meet us and go with us through the fires of life (see Isa 43:1-2)...
Daniel’s three friends would rather die than compromise their faith.
Here’s the Backstory
Daniel and His Friends Chosen to Be Court Officials (1:1-7).
In 605 b.c. the Babylonians marched against Judah and besieged Jerusalem.
They took some temple articles to Babylon, as well as some of Judah’s finest young men.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz, his chief court official, to choose the very best of these men and train them for the king’s service.
Among this group were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
They were given Babylonian names, trained in Babylonian language and literature, and placed on a special diet.
Daniel and His Friends Refuse Unclean Food (1:8-16).
Daniel regarded the food offered by the Babylonians to be defiling.
The Mosaic law forbade God’s people to eat unclean animals or flesh that had not been drained of blood.
Portions of the wine and meat presented by Ashpenaz may have been offered to idols.
Daniel convinced the Babylonians to allow him and his three friends to follow a different diet, consisting only of vegetables and water.
After a ten-day trial period they looked even healthier than those who were following the diet prescribed by the king.
Consequently they were not forced to eat the king’s food or drink his wine.
God Rewards Daniel and His Friends (1:17-21).
In response to Daniel’s and his friends’ faithfulness, the Lord gave them superior intellect and gave Daniel the ability to interpret dreams and visions.
When the king interviewed the trainees, he found Daniel and his friends to be the cream of the crop and appointed them to his service.
Their abilities far surpassed those of the king’s wise men and diviners.
Then comes the real test of their faith…
3:1-18 Nebuchadnezzar made a huge, gold image. The image may have represented his sovereign authority or one of his gods.
The king ordered all of his subjects to attend a dedication ceremony for the image.
At a designated time they were to bow down to the image.
All who refused to worship the image would be thrown into a fiery furnace.
When Daniel’s friends refused to bow down to the image, the angry king gave them an ultimatum and warned them of the consequences of disobedience.
They explained that their loyalty to the Lord prevented them from worshiping images.
They also told the king that the Lord was able to deliver them from the furnace if He so desired.
Daniel’s Friends Delivered from the Furnace (3:19-30).
After ordering the furnace to be heated to its maximum temperature, Nebuchadnezzar had Daniel’s friends tied up and thrown in.
The fire was so hot that its flames killed the soldiers who threw them in.
However, when Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he saw the three men walking around unbound, accompanied by an angelic being.
When the king ordered them out of the furnace, they were completely unharmed.
Nebuchadnezzar praised the Lord for delivering His faithful servants, decreed that anyone who slandered the Lord be executed, and promoted the three men.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were ordered to deny God, but they chose to be faithful to Him no matter what happened.
They were confident that God could deliver them, but they were determined to be faithful regardless of the consequences, even if it threatened their personal safety.
Today, many Christians believe that if we just have enough faith, God will protect us, rescue us, or answer our prayers in the way we desire.
But Jesus taught that His followers would often find trouble while in this world for their faithfulness (John 16:33).
Only in heaven, before God, will we finally have complete peace and healing.
Remain faithful as these three men did, and cling to the hope that God will walk with you through the fire.
Our eternal reward will be the confirmation that any suffering we had to endure in this earthly life was worth it.
The enemy is always trying to apply pressure in order to get us to compromise our faith.
These three young Hebrew men made the decision that they would rather die than compromise their faith in God.
What say you?
Are you going to give in to the enemy’s pressure, or are you going to stand on God’s Word and trust Him for whatever the outcome?
Let us always resist the urge to allow the world around us to press us into its mould.
SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Saturday, April 29
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young
A HILL WORTH DYING FOR
The sergeant has received his orders. “At any cost, take that hill.” He turns to his men and says, “Check your rifles…affix your bayonets. At my signal we charge and take the hill!”
The men in his company have been in the trenches for days. They’ve seen other men try to take the hill and fail.
They know the enemy is heavily entrenched and determined to hold their ground. And each man, as he waits for the command from his sergeant, is asking himself one question: “Is this a hill worth dying for?”
Those of us who have never been to war cannot completely understand the anguish of such a moment where life hangs in the balance, but we have asked the same question in different, if less threatening, terms.
“Is this principle worth risking my job?”
“Is this argument worth the damage it might cause in my marriage?”
On what basis do we choose which hills are “worth dying for?”
I believe if we have made the right life commitments, the question answers itself when it arises.
Our problem is we don’t nail down the big questions at the outset, and so we waver on the smaller ones.
The book of Daniel records the story of four young men who were kidnapped and carried into a foreign land.
As the prevailing powers in this new country tried to “assimilate” them, they received a shock!
These young men had made up their minds not to defile themselves or turn their back on their God, so when the questions of diet and prayer practices came up, their decisions were already made.
When we nail down the big choices, the other decisions fall more readily into place.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and he will deliver us out of your hand.”
Come join the Adventure!