Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Welcome to Day 255 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Daniel 3:16, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
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 “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.”
Daniel 4:28, “All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven…”
Psalm 81:13, “If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, 14 how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!”
Many interpret “Babylon” as either Rome (with its pagan worship and persecution of Christians) or Jerusalem (with its rejection of the Messiah/Jesus. There is plenty of scripture in the Old Testament to support Jerusalem and the imagery of a prostitute. Jerusalem itself was destroyed in 70 A.D. by none other than… Rome.)
Great passages in Daniel today! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace… And a telling story of the prideful fall of Nebuchadnezzar. And, some incredible thoughtful imagery in Revelation!
As for Nebuchadnezzar, ok, we get it, pride cometh before a fall. (Then he turns to the Lord!)
But the amazing story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace is an amazing testimony to faith and God’s faithfulness. But more than that is their determination to stay faithful to God by flat-out refusing to worship the image of gold.
They were “willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Those are the words of Nebuchadnezzar himself!
The God we serve is able to save us from it, [the fiery furnace] and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But
even if he does not,
we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
I love the practicality of their faith. They spoke the truth, “our God is able to save us…” then covered their bases with “even if he doesn’t, we won’t bow down…”
I have mentioned many times the various results in scripture when one was thrown into prison… John the Baptist was beheaded, not rescued. Joseph spent time in prison, then interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was promoted to Vice-Pharaoh. Peter was escorted out of prison by and angel. Paul and Silas were in prison when an earthquake occurred (as a result of their worship?), the prison doors flung open, but they stayed put and the prison guard took them to his house. (They prevented him from killing himself…)
Situations are no “one size fits all” are they? Just because we have faith, doesn’t mean we may experience our preferred outcome in any given situation.
“Our God is able to save us…”
“Even if he doesn’t…”
Peter was rescued from prison, but ultimately suffered crucifixion himself (some believe he was beheaded) but tradition records that Peter was crucified… and claimed he wasn’t worthy to die the same death as Jesus, and so was crucified upside down…
No matter, just noting that Peter could think, “Well, I was rescued from prison by an angel before, so he’ll come back for me now.” * buzzer
Then we get disappointed when God doesn’t do what or react the way we expect.
We should hang on to our faith “even if he doesn’t.”
He is still worthy!
He is still good!
He is still the Almighty!
“Our God is able!”
Thank you Lord that I can trust you in any situation!