5/24/15: The Greatest Story Ever Told: DANIEL (3)
What is your faith made of? When the pressure is on, will you stand strong…or will you crumble?
To get the answers to those questions, on Sunday we spent some time in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We also dropped down into the lion’s den with Daniel. In both cases, we were amazed to see the strength of their convictions.
Daniel’s three friends refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s 90-foot golden statue (Daniel 3). When the king heard of their impudence, he went into a furious rage. Bow down to the image, he demanded, or be thrown into a fiery furnace. “And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hand?” Nebuchadnezzar was about to find out…
Though the furnace was heated seven times hotter than normal — enough to kill the executioners — it didn’t even singe the three friends. To his astonishment, the king saw all three of them walking around in the fire unscathed with a fourth man who looked like “a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar called the men out of the furnace and gave praise to God. In fact, he sent a decree throughout the Babylonian empire warning that if anyone ever spoke against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he would be torn limb from limb and have his house demolished! All because these men refused to bow their knee to an idol…
The same was true for Daniel. When political rivals coaxed King Darius into passing a law that prohibited prayer to anyone but the king for 30 days, Daniel wasted no time in getting down on his knees in front of an open window and praying to his God (Daniel 6). His enemies told the king, and Darius reluctantly consigned Daniel to the lion’s den. Early the next morning, after a sleepless night of worry, King Darius rushed to the mouth of the lion’s den. “O Daniel,” he cried, “servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
We know the answer. Our God is mighty to save! Daniel emerged from the lion’s den without a scratch, protected by an angel from God. His rivals were not so fortunate…when they were tossed into the den along with their wives and children, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones before they even hit the floor.
Because of Daniel’s courage and conviction, because of his unflinching devotion to God, the most powerful king in the world sent the following message throughout his empire: “I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.” (Daniel 6:26)
Daniel and his friends had one fear — a fear of the Lord. It kept them standing firm in the most severe tests of faith. May we be inspired and empowered by their example!