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Monday, May 17, 2010

Three Hot Guys with Cool Names

I remember a Sunday School teacher trying to teach us the names of Daniel’s three companions. You know, the fiery furnace guys? There was a song and a couple of clever play on words that were supposed to help with the unfamiliar-sounding names. The only one of those I recall is one of them sounds like Into-Bed-We-Go.

Strange.

Anyway, no matter what their names were, I enjoyed the story of the men thrown into the raging furnace for standing firm in their loyalty and devotion to God. They faced and past the ultimate test of faith.

Although I learned the story as a kid, I’ve garnered so much more from it as I’ve gotten older and faced flames of my own. If you’re facing flames today, and I know for a fact that some of you are, take some advice from three hot guys from the Old Testament – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Here’s the setting. Daniel has just been successful in telling King Nebuchadnezzar not only what his dream meant, but also what his dream was in the first place. God was glorified, even King Neb acknowledged Him.

But…King Neb had some bad habits, such as demanding the impossible, forgetting the miraculous, flying into rages and stroking his ninety foot tall ego.

One second, the King declares that Daniel’s God is the greatest of all gods, and the very next he sets up a ninety-foot golden image (perhaps of himself, but we don’t know that) for all of his subjects to worship. Oh, and if they didn’t, they’d be thrown into the fire to die.

Geesh.

I imagine Daniel feeling quite bewildered at that.

But Daniel’s not the one who got tattled on, for whatever reason (highly debated in the theological world). The other three boys were. And they found themselves facing a furious king and a very, very hot execution.

I don’t know if King Neb was just arrogant, possessed or psychotic, but his noisy temper tantrum thrown at our three guys seems a little over the top. Maybe he was a drama queen… king, rather? Whatever the reason for his disposition, he ends up challenging the God of the Universe to a little contest. King Neb states: If you refuse [to worship my idol], you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?

Wow. That’s like saying: God Himself could not sink this ship. (Titanic, 1997)

So are you facing flames? Probably. Perhaps the flames don’t scare you as much, though, as why you’re facing them. Is there a King Neb in your life? Do the source of your problems seem completely idiotic? Baffling? Nonsensical? Unfair, even? Are they a result of backstabbing, undercutting, blind-siding? Are your prayers full of why, why, why?

Look at what our three hot guys said in response to their King Neb: O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statute you have set up.

I love so much about this speech!

First, it is not spoken in anger or defense. In fact, they state they are not saying this as a defense because that would be unnecessary. And they show respect through addressing him by his title, Your Majesty. This was done without an ounce of contempt.

Second, surely, they do not want to be thrown into the fire. Nothing about their behavior suggests they’re on a suicide mission here. However, they face the possibility of it happening as a reality, and they are unafraid because they are certain their God is able to save them. They are not, however, certain that He will. Their faith lives entirely in God’s will for their lives and in the supremacy of glorifying Him, not in them getting what they want.

That leads to the third point. Bowing is out of the question no matter what. They are saying, threaten all you want, King Neb. God can do what He wants with us, but because we’ve devoted our lives to Him, we will not disobey or dishonor Him by bowing to an idol. Live or die, we’re His. End of discussion.

Do we face our King Nebs and fiery furnaces the same way?

Am I devoted to God so completely that I can make the same majestic speech…and mean it?

Eh… It’s not easy because it takes training and discipline. I can’t control King Neb’s mood swings and whims. And the flames are hot and harmful and horrifying. I don’t want to go through the fire. I don’t know that the fire won’t consume me.

All I know is that God can save me, and that all things work together for those who are called by Him (Rom. 8:28), and that whatever happens, God will deliver me from the power of King Neb. And God will get the glory.

The only question I have to ask myself is: Am I devoted to the one true God… no matter what?

Happy Monday, Dry Ground! I pray you’ll face your King Nebs and your fiery furnaces this week with respect, courage, confidence and hope.

2 comments:

lynnrush said...

Love the title. Talk about drawing me in. . . .

:-)

Great post.

KM Wilsher said...

Yup, keeping an eye out for my 3 hot guys LOL courage, determination, willingnes. . .okay more than three!!! Hope, confidence. LOL

Love this series girl!

Thanks for the prayers this week