July 24, 2012
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 24 JULY 2012
In contrast to a burning hatred for the things of God, Daniel 3 provides an illustration of true faith and love for God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were faithful to God; they did not worship the king's golden image; they did not attempt to bring attention to themselves; they did not protest the assembly of verses 3 and 7; but, neither did they obey the king’s commands. Nevertheless, verse 8 tells us that certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. Their faithfulness to God is recorded as an encouragement to the people of God throughout the ages.
There are two noteworthy characteristics of their faith recorded in verses 17 and 18, and also in Hebrews 11:34. The writer to the Hebrews said these men “quenched the power of fire.” How did that occur? Daniel 2:17-18 answers that question. They said, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us.” They were confident in the power of God. They also said, “But even if He does not . . . we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They were submissive to the authority and will of God. They were not faithful because they knew they would be delivered; their faith was in God. If they were not delivered, they did not consider that failure on God’s part or their faith. Sometimes God brings tragedy and sometimes deliverance. We are called to faithfulness and to leave the outcome of events to Him. The response of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in verse 16 was that they did not even need to provide an answer to Nebuchadnezzar. There was no eloquence in their speech, only faithfulness to God.
God blessed His servants because of their faithfulness to Him. When the future is uncertain, and God’s faithful people serve Him (despite the onslaughts of the world, the flesh, and the devil), and when God’s faithful follow Him with the sole quest and passion of life as the glory of God, blessings always follows. The blessing will certainly occur in different manners, and may be surprising, but God is always faithful. God uses trials and tribulations to produce more significant fruit in the lives of those who belong to Him. For those who have a relationship with God by grace through faith, death is the way to life and being made alive in Christ Jesus is the path to victory.
There are three accounts in the Book of Daniel wherein either Daniel and/or his friends experienced the threat of death. Of course, they did not die physically, but sometimes that is the will of God (as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego confessed). The account of the faithful in the Book of Daniel is that they died to self. One trial and testing of their faith was met with another. What was their response? Doubt . . . depression . . . no, not once. The trials and tribulations accomplish exactly what God intends. It produces more significant fruit in those of godly character who know God, and are unwavering in faithfulness to Him in the experience of the toughest persecution. God does use trials and tribulations to mold and shape us into Christlikeness. Not for our glory but solely for His own, as He is so worthy.
Let us keep persevering "toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14).
Yours in Christ Jesus,