August 20, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 20 August 2019
While the account of the prophet Daniel in the lions’ den is a favorite Bible story for children, the third chapter of the book of Daniel is also a well-known section in the Bible. Daniel 2 concluded with Daniel and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) being exalted to a position of authority and privilege in Babylon. Unfortunately, people and events have a habit of changing in this life, and thus, one reads in Daniel 3:1 that the times were changing.
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon decided to erect a colossal, golden image. To make matters even worse, everyone in the Babylon kingdom was commanded to “fall down and worship” the pagan image. Having committed themselves to the Lord God, only three did not bow in worship. The consequence for obeying God and not man was that they were “cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”
Expecting to see the men perish in the flames, Nebuchadnezzar was astounded and stood in haste, and said, “Look! I see four men loosed andwalking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” The statement that there was one like the Son of God in the midst of the fire with the three men is a reminder to all believers that God draws near to his faithful in times of testing and tribulations (cf. 1 Pet 4:12, 19).
Nebuchadnezzar knew nothing regarding the Son of God — the Lord Jesus Christ — but he did know that the fourth person who he saw in the fire looked supernatural (the appearance is very likely the preincarnate Christ). Jesus Christ was personally present in the furnace of fire with these three young Jewish men. Is it not appropriate that Christ should be personally present with them? Nebuchadnezzar asked, “What god . . . can deliver you out of my hands?” The only God who could accomplish that deliverance appeared personally.
“Trust and obey” is a popular gospel hymn. The composer of the tune was the singer for a series of evangelistic meetings by Dwight L. Moody in Brockton, Massachusetts. One night a young man stood and remarked, “I am not quite sure—but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.” The statement was jotted onto paper and sent (along with the story) to the attention of a Presbyterian minister, who then wrote the words to the hymn, which were soon published.
Proverbs 16:20 states, “He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” The truth of that proverb is the emphasis of the refrain: “trust and obey, for there’s no other way.” The three stanzas develop the theme of walking with God in obedience to his Word, the Holy Bible, and with entire commitment to the Lord’s will for one’s life.
First Peter 4:19 – Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Faithfulness is always the duty of God’s people; it is the Lord’s part to decide (in his good providence) how He will accomplish the consequences of our faithfulness. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego never questioned whether they should be faithful; it was not, “well, if we are faithful, we may suffer,” the only option to them was always faithfulness. They only needed to discern what would be faithfulness, and it was not disobeying the first and second commandment. How that would work in God’s providence was not their concern.
Just like Daniel’s friends, our concern in life is how to be faithful. When you truly believe that God has tremendous concern for his people, then you can stop worrying with regard to the events of life, because your focus — the priority of your life — is upon the God who you trust and who loves and cares for his people. A persevering faith in God will manifest itself in a persevering faithfulness to God. In the words of the old hymn: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Your Missionary to Our Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.