I was doing fairly well getting these posts up in a timely manner, but we have come to the end of the ones I worked ahead on and we are back to me writing fresh from my quiet time and based on thoughts I have in the notes section of my brain…
so here we go, campers and let me say…
I much prefer the more organized and well-planned method, but we get what we get…from my heart to yours <3
We have talked about battles involving large armies this week, but most likely the battles you and I will face tend to be on a smaller and more personal level in our daily lives.
They don’t involve physical swords and weaponry.
But they are no less real and they are no less threatening.
And we may not even realize we are about to be engaged in a skirmish that could inflict devastating harm until we are in the midst of the heat of it.
Pun possibly intended.
Today, as you may have guessed by all the fire references, we will be looking at three men who were thrust into a battle simply because they would not conform to the pressure of their peers, their bosses or their culture.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego are three characters familiar on flannel boards from our childhood.
Friends of Daniel who made the journey from Jerusalem to Babylon to be indoctrinated into all things pagan and yet had determined in their hearts to remain faithful to God, these men were tested time and again because of a decision made early and never compromised over.
In Daniel 3 we read the familiar story of the 90 foot statue of gold, most likely forged from the plunder of the Temple treasury vaults.
Commanded by Nebuchadnezzar to bow before this self-styled god man, the three refused and were reported to the King by a whole list of officials that you could probably recite with me because they are named numerous times throughout the twenty-five verses of this portion of the book of Daniel.
Say it with me since it’s VBS and we do this repetition thing when sitting cross legged around story time…
and it’s just fun to repeat big words when you are a kid…
“…the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the province…”
There now…don’t you feel accomplished?
So all those guys reported to King Nebuchadnezzar that our three friends:
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were not following his order and refused to bow…
are you ready for another list?
“…whenever they heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music…”
I personally think this sing-song repetition of phrases makes a contrasting background for one of the most powerful portions of battle scriptures ever.
Because these three are pretty much destined to be incinerated in the very furnace from which the statue of gold had been formed.
God showed up in the furnace.
And the three men who had declared Him able to deliver were seen dancing through the flames with Him.
They celebrated the victory in the midst of what should have been the war because they had prepared themselves before they ever were thrown into the battle.
Like Tozer said on Monday, the outcome was determined before the first shot was fired.
Along with Daniel, they had set a purpose in their hearts from the start to not defile themselves in Babylon.
They knew God could deliver and yet had surrendered to the “even if He doesn’t.”
Whatever God did, they would bow only to Him.
Have you walked through the fire with a heart purposed to remain faithful “even if”?
Oh you will feel the heat, but you won’t be burned.
He may deliver or He may not.
But I can assure you, He will be with you.
And when you have danced in the fire of the hottest of trials with Jesus, you will never, ever be the same.
Let’s celebrate with something toasted…maybe a nice S’more?
May you savor His sweet presence with every bite and I will see you tomorrow <3