June 30 - A Questionable Life, Part 5A
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
If you’re familiar with the book of Daniel or if you’ve been with us throughout our summer series on A Questionable Life, you’re familiar with King Nebuchadnezzar. You probably know by now that he is no stranger to showy displays of power, ridiculous demands, over-the-top consequences if his expectations aren’t met, and stuff made of gold. In this week’s message, we get to see him flaunting all of these.
The story goes like this: Nebuchadnezzar has made an enormous image of gold and called all of the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, and magistrates in the province to come worship it. In true King Neb style, “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (Daniel 3:6) When he signaled for everyone to worship, everyone immediately fell to their knees. Everyone except three Jews who refused to worship anything above their God.
Daniel 3:13-18 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
If most of us were in that same situation, our temptation would be to just bow down with everyone else and pray silently to God, “Sorry Lord, we don’t mean it. You know we only serve you, but this guy wants to throw us in the furnace. You understand.” But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. They were confident God would save them from the furnace, but even if He didn’t they still refused to compromise their faith by complying with the King’s demands. (And skipping ahead to the second part of this story, He does indeed save them.)
Greg spoke a lot about absolute power and relative power on Sunday and I understood the overall point or the message, but realized I didn’t know the actual definitions of these terms. In case anyone else needs help with this, here you go:
Absolute power is the complete authority to act in an area, not restrained by supervision or review.
Relative power is the power that one person or entity has in relation to another person or entity.
God has absolute power over everything, but because Nebuchadnezzar had power over the people in his kingdom, he mistakenly assumed he had power over everything, including who his people worshiped.
As Christians, we need to be sure God is the absolute in our lives. People tend to make their personal happiness of absolute value to them, but happiness is only relative. We need to give biblical holiness absolute power in our lives. Beware of putting things of relative value above what Scripture tells us is absolute.
Thank you that you make all things new. We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you. Let us not put anything else above you, but to seek you first in all things. Amen.