Monday, April 23, 2012

the faith that reaches kings

"If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Daniel 3:17-18

The account of the courageous faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the face of death by the fiery furnace is a commitment that God honored. They refused to practice public, politically correct idolatry at the threat of death. And their courage was rewarded by God. But their faith was the foundation of their brave answer to Nebuchadnezzar.

There are three words in their answer back to the king that indicate the unswerving conviction that drove them. Those three words are "but if not". They are convinced that God can save them from death in the fiery furnace, but if God chose not to do so and they died in the flames, they would not be bothered one bit. It changed nothing. They still would not bow to worship anything other than the Lord their God and Him only.

Of course as the account plays out, they are sentenced to death, bound, and thrown into the furnace. The king is amazed as he sees them walking alive in the flames, protected by an angel of God. He orders them to walk out from the flames (an order they are happy to obey), and immediately recognizes the greatness of the God of heaven Who guarded them in the blaze.

God used the occasion to spread His knowledge among the Gentiles. Nebuchadnezzar is clearly convinced that the God of the Jews protected them. He promotes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even greater posts of political influence. It even leads Him to offer an official announcement about the power of God, praising God for His greatness over all the earth (Daniel 4:1-3).

All this came on the heels of a courageous faith that will trust God even if death is the outcome of faith. That is the kind of commitment that attends real faith. And that kind of commitment is blessed by God to spread His fame among the nations!

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