Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 … Integrity Never Stands Alone

Passage of the Day: Daniel 3: 24 – 25 … 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." 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."

My Journal for Today: This Old Testament [true] story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire with “the Fourth Man” we now know as a THEOPHANY, a visual appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. And for this humble student of God’s word [yes, me!], who journals here, it is a true incident which reinforces God’s promise that He will never leave me, nor forsake me (see Deut. 31: 6 or Heb. 13: 5) … no matter how “hot” the circumstances might get. As a Christian, I never stand alone!

Nebuchadnezzar, from his pagan mindset, had to be “blown away” when these boys came out of the fire, their clothes with no evidence of having been burned. First, he was definitely impressed by the spiritual integrity of the three young Hebrew boys. But the king couldn’t let it drop. He had to put the boys into the furnace to retain his kingly pride. But then, he must have flipped out to see the boys survive, dancing in the flames with a supernatural appearance of a “Fourth Man,” whom he perceived and described as “a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar was not yet in a place where he could see Christ as the Fourth Man in the fire, as “THE Son of God;” but this Babylonian King was getting there.

I remember in my own life when I saw the workmanship of God in the lives of others. Christlikeness was shining from them. It was undeniable; but in my agnostic, humanistic mindset at the time, I was unable to see the truth – only a shadow of the truth. And like Nebuchadnezzar, I could not humble myself to receive God’s grace being made evident before my very eyes. It finally took my own brokenness to open my eyes, which later was the case for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Later in the book of Daniel, Chapter 4, we read of how God humbled Nebuchadnezzar to the point that this powerful king could only look up and see God for whom He really was (is). And Nebuchadnezzar finally declared THE LORD to be the one true God [see Daniel 4: 37]. And though under different circumstances, that is what happened to me as well. God had to take me to a place of complete brokenness and humility so that I could (and did) ask for God to give me His saving grace. And like I believe it happened for Nebuchadnezzar, I was saved.

As I’m meditating on this passage of the day again, it all reminds me of the joint messages coming from 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9, which relate truth to believers that our faith in God will allow Him to visit our weakness with His strength and provide “a way where there seems to be no way,” as the words to the old hymn attest. And like the three Hebrew boys, our deliverance from the fires of this world or into the next, whatever is God’s will, is always a matter of our obedience and trust, i.e., our Christian integrity, which activates God to be there in the midst of our fires.

My Prayer Today: You are there, Lord, when I need You. Amen

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