Study from God’s Word… Daniel, Chapter 3 … Passage for Reflection: Daniel 3: 16 – 18 … NIV 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."
My Journal for Today: Dr. Smith, the Editor of The Daily Bible in Chronological Order,has his readers today going through one of my favorite chapters in the OT, … that great – TRUE – story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their confrontation with King Nebuchanezzar. If you’re a fan of OT stories, I’ll bet it’s a favorite of yours as well.
And like Dr. Smith, I always come away from this story wondering if I would have been as brave as these three were if my very life was threatened and my faith challenged as theirs was. I do hope so; but if I did stand up for God they way these three lads did, it would only be because I surrendered to God, received His empowering grace, and allowed Him to lift me up the way His word promises in passages I have in my heart and memory, … passages like Isaiah 41: 10, Romans 8: 31, and Philippians 4: 13. But these young warriors for God did stay strong in their witness for their faith; and in doing so they gave powerful witness to a pagan and prideful king, who had to take notice of God from their incredible faith and the awesome display of power from their God. You can go back and read about their influence of witness in Daniel, Chapter 3, verses 28 – 30.
LaGard Smith, as he does daily, closes his devotional today with a self examination question. He asks, ”What would I be willing to give up for the Lord, even if there was no hope of rescue?” And I have to say that I’m radically convicted by such a challenge. I say convicted because I find myself even unwilling to give up some sinful, selfish eating patterns in my life, knowing that my God would be honored if I was readily willing to restrain myself in my eating patterns.
Do you have any “fiery furnaces” in your life, as my gluttony is for me? And by conviction, is God asking you, as He is for me, to give witness to Him by giving up something or doing something which recognizes God’s power to overcome the fiery furnaces of our lives … just as God did for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? I’ll let you wrestle with God for His blessing over that one as I’m doing right now over my eating habits. And if we can surrender to our God as these three boys did, perhaps we can be stronger witnesses for our God than if we turn away, not believing that God can – and will – give us the strength we need to be warriors for Him rather then wimps for self.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank you for the pain of conviction, which draws me closer to becoming the man You desire me to be. Amen