Trust, Regardless Monday, June 26, 2017
Think About: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t know God’s plan for their lives, just as we don’t know God’s plan for our lives. We get hit with health issues, job loss, and other events that are part of life. How to deal with these issues is the lesson we can learn from this scripture. Are we so strong in our faith that these life events don’t shake us? Do we sail a steady course through the storms of life?
I think that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were probably very scared when they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. My reading of the scripture tells me that they didn’t know what God would do – whether he would save them from this torture or if they would die. While they may have been scared and did not know what God would do, they were firm in their faith. They didn’t have all the answers to their questions, but they placed their trust in a God who they knew loved them and wanted the best for them, even if the best was a furnace of blazing fire.
They were faithful to their God, for they told King Nebuchadnezzar that “…we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” In return, God chose to protect them and the fire did not consume them. I’m sure they were praying very hard before and during their confrontation with King Nebuchadnezzar. They obviously had a relationship with God. This only happens when there is conversation and interaction. Prayer changes things. I believe God saw their faithfulness and decided to reward them, for later in Daniel 3 we read that God was glorified by the actions of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and “…the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
Praise God if the answer to your prayer is “yes.” Honor Him if the answer is “Not yet.” Trust Him if the answer is “No.” God is faithful, all the time.
Pray this Prayer:
Father God, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you that you answer prayers and that you are available 24/7. Help me to have the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to put all my full trust in you 24/7. I ask this in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Believe Continually Wednesday June 28, 2017
Read: “If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18 (NRSV)
Think About: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to give in and worship other gods or let go of their trust in God. They faced the fiery furnace and because of their faithful obedience. God was with them so they were not consumed. We face furnace moments in life continually, when we are given a choice how to respond with the enticement to worship other things. Prayer is an intimate conversation with God to help us build our trust and faith in Him, so that when moments of fear or tests come, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not alone.
My fiery furnace moment came a few years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. After three years of treatment, the cancer was not arrested. I strongly believe in prayer. As a child I saw my mother healed of a goiter without surgery– through prayer and anointing with oil. So I believed I could be healed, although I also recognized that it might not turn out the way I wished. The non-surgical treatments I had did not work. There were a lot of people praying for me. I also believe in common sense. I sought out additional medical help and explored several medical opinions and options. After selection of a particular surgical option I am cancer free five years later. God chose to deliver me from the furnace. Through all of this, I was able to deal with it in a positive way because of my faith. I was ready regardless of the outcome, although I’m more appreciative of the results rather than the alternative.
I could not have gone through this without prayer and faith that God is in control. I was ready for the outcome, whatever it might have been. I thank God he chose to deliver me out of the fiery cancer furnace.
Pray: Father God, thank you that you are an active God and a great physician. You heal us both physically and spiritually. Thank you for your faithfulness and for loving us unconditionally, even though we don’t deserve it. Thank you for sending your son, my Lord and Savior, Amen.
Proclaim, Eternally Friday, June 30, 2017
Think About: Because of the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, read what happened in Daniel 3:17-30 (MSG):
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar; “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cut off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king was in such a hurry and the furnace was so hot, flames from the furnace killed the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?” “That’s right, O king,” they said. “But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!”
Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire. All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them!
Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own. Therefore I issue this decree: Anyone anywhere, of any race, color, or creed, who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and their houses torn down. There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
God’s faithfulness knows no boundaries. Do you put your full trust in God? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were rewarded because they surrendered their future to God, not Nebuchadnezzar. They didn’t know the outcome – whether they would live or die – but they put their trust in God, whatever the outcome.
Pray: Father, I thank you for scripture and for your unfailing grace. Help me place all my trust in you, not only during good times but also when times look bleak. Thank you for your faithfulness and for always being with me. Give me the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I ask this In Jesus’ name, Amen.