July 7 - A Questionable Life, Part 5B
Last week we looked at the first half of Daniel 3, so this week we continued on to the second half where God rescues Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace. Often the message that goes along with this chapter is “What is your furnace?” or “Don’t miss the glory of meeting God in the furnace.” These are both excellent applications of the reading, but since we’re still in the Questionable Life series, Greg gave us a different perspective of this familiar story.
Why were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown in the furnace?
The easy answer is they disobeyed the king’s command. But let’s go a little deeper and ask why they disobeyed. These men weren’t going against Nebuchadnezzar’s orders to bake him a pie or shine his shoes. The King wanted them to worship his idol and acknowledge that his power was absolute, but they knew only God’s power was. They refused to take what they knew to be an absolute truth and reduce it something relative, even if they lost their lives because of it.
So many times in today’s world we are faced with a similar dilemma. What have you put in a place of absolute value in your life? Your wealth? Your kids? Your physical appearance? Your personal happiness? We all want to say God is number one in our lives, but have we truly prioritized Him over these things? If we seek the kingdom of happiness over the Kingdom of God, we are no better than Nebuchadnezzar.
Choosing the right path is not always an easy one. The world will say our biblical view is narrow, close-minded, or bigoted. They will tell us it’s no better than any other religious worldview. We may be tempted to cave in to the pressure to accept worldly things as absolute, rather than take the abuse. Jesus knew this is what we would come against. He told us:
John 17:13-16 I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
It’s difficult to fight the pressure to conform and to differ from the mainstream, but we have the Creator of the universe on our side! Let’s ask God for the courage and the strength to make Him absolute in our lives and not waver or stray from that. Let’s fight the temptation to be like Nebuchadnezzar and let's strive to make what is absolute to God, absolute to us. Let’s expand our worldview from temporary to eternal. God can rescue us from our furnaces, but “even if He doesn’t” (Daniel 3:18) we will have no regrets when we meet Him in Heaven.