That is a familiar statement which I dare say, I am fairly certain that one or two of us reading this today, may have had cause to utter at some point or the other in our lives.
With the very best of Christian intentions, and as much as we would love to obey the word of God, that commands us to forgive offences against us, sometimes, the reality of the lingering pain that is the legacy of our experience can be so traumatic and ever fresh, that we just cannot forget the cause or source of the pain. (more…)
“18Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous.”
One of the most impactful definitions of faith that I learnt as a young Christian was the acrostic: (more…)
Today’s bible reading tells the story of three young Hebrew boys – Shadrach, Meshsach and Abednego, who were amongst the captive Jews that were exiled in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar, who was the Babylonian King at the time, had issued a decree that everyone in the kingdom must bow down and worship the golden image that he had made.
“4Then the herald made a loud proclamation: “To you, O peoples, nations, and language groups, the following command is given: 5When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has erected. 6Whoever does not bow down and pay homage will immediately be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire!” Daniel 3:4-6
The penalty for disobeying the king’s command was death by burning.
12But there are Jewish men whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – and these men have not shown proper respect to you, O king. They don’t serve your gods and they don’t pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.“ Daniel 3:12
The three young Hebrew boys had a decision to make. They had to choose between honouring the commands of an earthly king to save their lives, or honouring the commands of the King of Kings and save their souls.
Someone once asked the question:
If you were brought on trial for the sole offence of being a Christian, would your accusers have enough evidence to convict you?
Here is an interesting thought that I’d like us to consider:
Nebuchadnezzar’s command to the people to bow down and worship his golden image was an act that was specifically forbidden by God and which every Hebrew knew as the sin of idolatry, that carried a grave penalty in the eyes of God.
What happened to all the other Jews, tens of thousands of them that were held in captivity together with the three boys; how come no other Hebrew was accused and convicted of the same offence?
Many times, our fear of what man would say, or what man will do to us, the fear of what we stand to lose or the threat of being different from the common stance of the crowd, can all lead us to do things that are in direct contradiction to God’s command to us.
But hear what Jesus says:
“But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke 12:5
The three young men stood their ground. They chose to obey God even in the face of what promised to be a gruesome consequence of death by being thrown in the blazing fiery furnace. They would not compromise their faith and wholly trusted in God to come through for them.
“16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, “We do not need to give you a reply concerning this. 17If our God whom we are serving exists, he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well. 18But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.” Daniel 3:16-18
The king ordered the furnace to be made seven times hotter than it would normally be, and that the three boys to be thrown in to their death. But the God whom they serve and had chosen to honour, had other plans for their lives.
When they were thrown into the furnace bound and left for dead, a Fourth Man appeared in the fire with them! The fire was burning seven times hotter, yet not a single hair on their bodies was touched by the fire. Hallelujah!
Even though God did not keep them from the fire, He kept them in the fire. The fire that was meant to kill them only served to burn the cords that had been used to bind them!
King Nebuchadnezzar saw this sight and marvelled:
“24Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and quickly got up. He said to his ministers, “Wasn’t it three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied to the king, “For sure, O king.” 25He answered, “But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!” Daniel 3:24-25
Because of the obedience of the young men in honour of their God and the implicit trust in Him that they had demonstrated, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to acknowledge their God as the Most High God!
He ordered them to be taken out of the furnace and made the following decree:
“I hereby decree that any people, nation, or language group that blasphemes the god of Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego will be dismembered and his home reduced to rubble! For there exists no other god who can deliver in this way.” 30Then Nebuchadnezzar promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.“ Daniel 3:29-30
If you were in their situation, would your obedience have been fire proofed?
That decision that you need to take; that choice you are about to make – does it honour and glorify God?
There is promotion waiting for you on the other side of your obedience.
Pastor Wale Ola
1. What is God saying to me in today’s message?
2. What was ministered to me in the bible verses that I read today?
3. What are the changes or adjustments I need to make in my life to align with the word of God?
4. What is my commitment to the word for today?
5. What practical steps can I take to benefit from the word I have read today?
Ask God to give you the grace to fully trust and obey Him.
Is there a decision that you are about to make? Ask God to give you the strength to stand true and firm on His word.
Pray that your decisions will honour Him and bring glory to His Name.
Pray that God’s presence will be with you as you take a stand on His word, and that the promotion that is on the other side of your obedience will be your reward in Jesus’ Name.
THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE: Philippians 2:13
Song For Today: Great Are You Lord – All Sons & Daughters