Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God knows best

I was reading a story in the book of Daniel that is familiar to all of us.  I learned about it a child.  It is the story of the fiery furnace.  The story is in chapter 3 and involves the king of Babylon, king Nebuchadnezzar, making a golden image, and his requirement that all in the kingdom must bow down and worship the image when the gong sounded. 

There were three courageous faithful Jews who refused to bow down and worship the idol.  They were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  When the other people (Chaldeans) reported this to King Nebuchadnezzar, he was mad and gave the order that the three men be arrested and brought before him.

When these three Jews were brought before the king, they admitted that they had not bowed to the idol.  They knew the punishment for their decision and yet they didn’t make excuses.  They simply told the king the truth.  They held fast and refused to bow to the idol even when faced with certain death.

Their response to the king is a fascinating one.  “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, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:17-18)

They were convinced that God was able to save them, if He wanted to.  They were not going to defile themselves by bowing to the idol.  In essence, they were saying even if God doesn’t choose to save us, that is his choice and He is still God and we will still serve Him and worship Him.

So the King was furious.  He had his men fire the furnace up seven times hotter than normal and then had the three Jews tossed in.  The fire was so hot that it completely vaporized the soldiers.  (This would be cool to see in a movie.)  The king somehow was able to see into the furnace because he sees four men in the furnace and he recognizes the fourth man as a divine being.  I think at that moment he is thinking, “Oh, no.  I’m in trouble now!” The king quickly has the men released from the furnace.  Amazingly, they came out without even a hair on their heads being singed.  They didn’t even smell like smoke.

The king knows what he has to do next.  He orders his entire empire to worship the God of these three men.

It is easy to see that God was with these three men.  The idea that He showed up in the furnace is evidence that God goes through our trials with us.  After all, He went through the fire with them.  He will never leave us or forsake us in times of trouble. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

As a Christian, we sometimes have to do things that the world will not be happy with.  Perhaps you need to stand-up to the boss who wants you to lie, or fix the books, or do some other unethical thing.  We need to stand for truth.  Our first obligation is to obey God, even at the risk of losing our jobs.  We must stand firm in our faith at all times.  We must never compromise our principles.  When we face the consequences for these actions, we can be assured that God is with us. 

God is able to deliver you from whatever you are currently going through.  Just remember, even if He doesn’t rescue you out of it, He is still God and He is still worthy of praise.  Perhaps what you want rescued from is really going to be used to further mold you into being more like Christ. 

Take a few minutes to listen to this song by Laura Story entitled “Blessings”.

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