How About Those Hebrew Boys
"But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:18
Coming home this past Sunday after Church i was disppointed to find that my air conditioning system had completely failed after 17 years of good service and the temp on the inside was 81° and rising. I was at first bewildered in addition to being already spent from a full day of church activities. It was a great series of services by the way, a truly glorious time in the presence of the Lord. Still, I walked in the house expecting to refresh and relax then have a late lunch and the all too important Sunday afternoon nap. Wasn't to be.
The heat hit me as I walked in and then as it got progressively hotter I began to think about two things. First, what the weather was like in Savannah, GA in the summertime before anyone had air conditioning and our only escape from the heat and humidity was the front porch at night with two small electric fans and a block of ice in a foot tub. During the daytime we kids stayed outside as much as possible, but my Mom and Dad still had to work despite the heat.
Then, remembering today how it was as I began to sweat just sitting still I thought about the Hebrew boys Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Now let me be quick to say, my house was not as hot as a fiery furnace, not even close. Nor did I think I was facing a horrible fiery death from the heat.
We know how their situation turned out and praise God for it. But, what must it have been like for them before the fact, when they were facing the threat of pending inhalation from a horrifying death? They must have felt some initial anxiety and fear. They must have imagined what it would be like for their bodies to be subjected to that kind of ultimate torcher. But evidently, despite all that, they were resigned to whatever might happen. We know how they responded to the king’s threat.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
First, they were confident in God’s ability to deliver them and second they were confident in their faith that He would. But they were human and we human beings are not yet perfect, that’s why we walk by faith and not by sight. Even as born again Spirit filled believers who love the Lord and desire to serve Him with our whole hearts we can be shaken by life’s bumps and ruts, but we and even the ones most ardent in faith among us are never called upon to boast in our faith, but we are bold to boast in the Lord.
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Psalm 34:1-2
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14
We speak words of faith, of life and not of death, of good and not of evil, because God has given us the choice. He has placed them both in the power of our tonguess. Isn’t that wonderful!!! Life and good are just as close as the mention of the name of Jesus and the declaration of His Words which are spirit and life.
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 6:54-60
The people who heard Jesus’ Word for the first time, and without the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit, Whom we now have, could not fully understand them. They were a mystery to them. Yet, some did believe by faith despite their lack of knowledge about what they really meant.
"When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to youare spirit, and theyare life.But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:61-69
If then the Words that Jesus spoke to the disciples then were Spirit and Life then His Words spoken by us today are also Spirit and Life. They are the same words, His Words. And we should not fear or hesitate to declare them over ourselves and over others. His Words spoken in His name over any situation will accomplish exactly what He pleases and cause them to come to pass.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
What Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were doing in making their boast in the Lord even as the fiery furnace was burning hotter to receive them, was to call on the promise of the Covenants God
made with their forefathers that He would deliver them.
“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Psalm 50:15
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:7
They must have drawn on the remembrance of how God had time and again deliver His people out of the hands of their enemies and gave them the victory over armies much greater than they.
So, they made their hearts like steel in this matter, whether God delivered them or not, they would not bow the knee to a false god. They would not compromise their allegiance to God and God alone.
This is the example for us through the life of Jesus. We believe God is able. With God all things are possible. We believe God is willing and He will do it. We are confident in our faith Him that with hopeful expectation, we know that He will hear and answer our prayers and petitions.
But even if He doesn’t, we will not turn from our faith in Him. He is God and God alone. Whatever He wants, we yield to serve Him, whatever He speaks, we will listen, whenever He calls, we will answer, wherever He leads, we will follow. He is God, He is our God and we will follow Him by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.
My soul says, YES!
To GOD be the GLORY!
What about the Hebrew boys? They were thrown in the furnace, but they did not burn. Jesus met them in it and they came out without even the smell of smoke on them. When God delivers, He delivers mightily.
Here’s the rest of the story.
“And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:23-30