THEY ARE WILLING TO DIE FOR A GOD WHOM THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW HAS THE POWER TO SAVE THEM – BUT THEY KNOW HE EXITS AND THAT HE IS REAL AND THAT HE IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP!!
What faith!! What faith!!
Here are three things for us to learn about this kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego showed:
1. Our faith needs to be rooted in who God is – not in who we are or where we are. Faith based on our circumstances – hey, life is great, God is good; life is crap God is……. Is not a good place to be. If our faith is based on what is happening to us we will not benefit from faith nor will we be able to group as a Christian. Faith based on a God who is Lord of the Universe even though he seems silent should still be able to give me peace, even when we face our worst fears.
2. Our faith needs to be rooted in BOTH the power of God and in his goodness. God can be trusted. Therefore we need to be able to leave the decision of whether God will protect us or rescue us to Him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego say that their trust in God is not based on whether they are save dor not – he is God, he is Good – they trust that!!
3. Our faith should be about loving God for his person not for his performance. Too often we pray to God as if we are sending God coded signals to dictate his behavior like a performing pony. Instead we should approach God like loving parent who will do what is best for us. Can we, WILL we trust his decisions?
This is the type of faith we are called too. Resilient, (able to cope in tough situations) adaptable (able to survive the unexpected in life) and strong, able to face even our worst fears knowing that God is God.
There are times when we will want God to show up so badly, but we will say or try and think that it does not matter if that prayer or desire is not answered – when in fact it does matter and we silently get angry with God – and there are the times when we have prayed and then the things we asked for happens and we are totally stunned God showed up
Sahrach, Meshach and Abedego held the tension between “it really does not matter whether God shows up” and “we are totally shocked that he has shown up.”
They really didn’t care either way – it would not effect their thinking or decisions.
As the three are thrown into the fire, Neb sees a fourth person in there with them. God shows up and the three guys don’t faint shocked that God did rescue them.
Now if I was one of the guys I would popped my head out of the furnace and gone – “Nanananana”.
Who was the fourth person in the fire? Jesus.
And this was not just for the benefit of the three guys, although I am sure the three were vaguely happy to see God. Jesus showing up is for the benefit of Neb. Here was the second encounter he has had with the followers of Yahweh. Daniel not only interprets Nebs dream but tells him what the dream is and Neb is impressed and acknowledges Daniels God to be powerful. Here, he sees three followers of Yahweh completely protected from the fire, in a miraculous way and his response is good, but it is still not the right response. Neb says that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego should be praised – but he still has not bowed the knee to God and that was the reason for this miracle. Sharach, Meshach and Abedego could have died and gone to be with God, but God is chasing Neb’s heart.
It is the kind of faith which these three Hebrews showed that allows missionaries to continue to try and lead Muslims to Christ. It is this type of faith which will help us when we stand up for those being bullied, or picked on, or beaten up, and it is the kind of faith which will help us to stand up for truth.
Is this the faith you have? Is it the faith you want.
You know, the true reward of faithful witness to God is not to be found in its results but in the experience of knowing the presence of God in the midst of the struggle.
Life will through at you some hefty knocks – some bad situations – times when your so sad you will hurt – and times when you will be SO happy you wish it would never end.
Living life with the faith of Christ – the faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego had – will help you pass through the hardest and the best of times knowing that God knows what is happening and all things are in is hands.