Monday, July 31, 2017

A FAITH WORTH DUPLICATING


Sometimes second chances do not matter. In the account of The Fiery Furnace, Nebuchadnezzar was furious with anger about the disobedience of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego concerning their worship of his golden image at the prompting sound of his music. However, even in his "rage" (Dan. 3:13), King Nebuchadnezzar gave the three Hebrew men a second chance (verse 15). The three Jewish men waived the second chance.

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is this next passage I will share. The concept is real and symbolic of how believers in Christ are to treat their most challenging life-trials. 
  • "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'” (Dan. 3:16-18)
Notice that even though there is strong defiance here, there is an air of I respectfully disagree attitude presented. Once they call him "King" and twice they call him "Your Majesty". I believe this stemmed from what they read from Job and heard from Daniel. Job said, "
Without inquiry, he shatters the mighty and sets up others in their place." (Job 34:24) Plus, Daniel supported this by stating - "He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others." (Dan. 2:21). There was no real reason for the young Hebrew men to get bent-out-of-shape in an argument with the King because they knew God placed Nebuchadnezzar there to begin with.

The phrase "we do not need to defend ourselves" implies that there was some history with the King that could have been referred back to in order to explain their actions. If the book of Daniel is chronological, then the young men had the experience of praying with Daniel for the interpretation of the King's dream to rely upon. Therefore, the King knew their position.

So, my Pritchard Paraphrase of the young Hebrew men's response goes something like this - 
  • With all due respect King, we don't have to explain our actions. You know where we stand with whose God we serve. If you decide to toss us into the blazing furnace, not only is our God able to save, but we are gonna take a leap of faith and proclaim that He is gonna save us. However, a little disclaimer here - God's ways are higher than ours, so if He decides not to save us, then so be it! We will be out of your hair and in the Presence of the KING of KINGS!
Well, ole Neb was even more furious than before and he ordered the furnace to be increased in heat seven times hotter than normal (7x). Like the normal amount of heat just would not do the trick (sarcasm included). However, I believe there is meaning here. The number seven (7) is a holy number and fire is associated with purification. God used this fiery trial, even the most prominent man in the land, to test their faith, even to the point of death. Here is a passion, a heart, A Faith Worth Duplicating.

What are the fruits of this defiance? First, within the fiery trial others, like King Nebuchadnezzar, might see and say in your situation,  “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25) Once out of the fire, everybody gathered around the young Hebrew men and took notice as others will on the other side of your situations - "They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them." (verse 27) That is how, by faith, this situation took place. However, the other ending, the other fruit to this defiance is not all that bad either - Heaven and God's company forever. As I said before, what A Faith Worth Duplicating!