Battle of the Gods
Almighty God, You are sovereign of this nation and the source of the manifold blessings of life. My heart bursts with gratitude to You.
Read Daniel 3:1-30
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We need wisdom to know on what issue and in what way to make a stand where society diverges from Christian teaching. Remember that obedience may be costly.
Was it the dream that stimulated the image? Did Nebuchadnezzar want to take control of his destiny? Perhaps he wanted to assert that he was no one’s puppet, not even God’s! The scene was set for one of the most remarkable acts of compelled submission, which would set the standard for future totalitarian states. The music began and the drama unfolded. Across the land in unison they responded—except not all. The refusal of three men spoiled the whole show, and it was worse because they were among the king’s favored few. Never mind, perhaps the message had not gotten through. Correct behavior will follow a step-by-step briefing—except it didn’t.
Daniel was not the only Jew who dared to be different. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remained completely unmoved by either the generosity of a second chance or the fearful consequences that would follow a repeated act of disobedience. For them the issue was clear. Life was not circumscribed by the time between birth and death, but instead defined by the choices you make. They had made their choice and whatever followed was not in their hands. They trusted that God would deliver them, whether from death or through death (Heb. 11:32–38), and so they faced the flames with equanimity.
The foolishness of the king is seen in his desire to heat things up (making death quicker) and incidentally wiping out the execution squad(!), not cooling things down (thereby increasing the suffering). Even eyesight issues arose as three become four! Shaken, Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the fire and they emerge with not even a scorch mark to display. Praise to God is given, but the accompanying threats reveal that Nebuchadnezzar has still some way to go in letting God be God!
“We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, NASB). What tough issues are you facing at the moment? How are you handling them? How does today’s passage help you?
Lord, I need Your wisdom and grace as I face the choices of today. Infuse me with courage and clear convictions as I seek to live for Your glory.
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