Summary: This sermon helps Christians to have a commitment that is full of passion for God.
Another new year has arrived. A year someone has said that they’re not going to make as many mistakes as they did last year. A year someone has decided to cut their calorie intake in half, holla if you hear me. A year someone has decided they’re going to make a career change, or perhaps shake off laziness and just simply find a job. Some student wants this to be a year of better grades. Maybe there is a young person who wants to be obedient to their parents this year, so that the spankings will cease, or at least be temporarily suspended.
Somebody wants to eat healthier, somebody wants to finish their college degree, somebody wants a better marriage, somebody wants a positive attitude, somebody wants a successful career, and somebody wants closer relationship with God! These are all good areas to improve in or things to strive for, but you have to do more than make these New Year resolutions, you need to make a fiery commitment.
Well, what’s the difference between a resolution and a commitment? You see a resolution is when a person determines or makes a decision to do something. They’re not joking around, but they have given careful consideration to what they want to do, and have purposed to do it. That sounds good right? It’s good that they have made up their mind to do something, so what’s the problem with making a resolution?
Before we ask that question, let’s look at a commitment. A commitment is when a person not only makes a decision to do something, but they obligate, bind, and entrust themselves in what they have determined to do, and they actually do it and see it through to the end.
• In other words, a commitment runs deeper than a resolution. A resolution is when you make up your mind that you’re going to eat healthier, but a commitment is when you go to Wal-Mart, pass up the gummy bears and pick up some grapes. A resolution is when you decide to finish your college degree, but a commitment is when you stand in the registration line in January, and take your final examination in May.
Do you want one more example? This one is for my young people, are you in the house this morning? A resolution is when you decide that you want to be successful and have a good job when you grow up, but a commitment is when you put up your cell phone in class so it doesn’t distract you, sit in the front of the classroom so that you can pay attention, and do your homework first before playing outside, watching cartoons, or talking on the phone, so that one day you can walk across the stage and not worry about getting paid minimum wage.
So you see a commitment is more than saying words and making up your mind, it involve actions. A commitment is kin to the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” It is my hope, that after this message we are not only encouraged to be committed to something, but that we have a fiery commitment.
• A fiery commitment is like food with Louisiana hot sauce, it adds flavor and spice. It’s not just plain food, but it has some fire to it. A fiery commitment is when we are passionately committed to something.
• We’re enthusiastic about what we’ve committed to, it gives us joy when we think about our commitment, and the fire and passion we have gives us the energy to see our commitment through to the end.
This is the kind of commitment we find in our text about three Hebrew boys who were taken captive and brought into the foreign land of Babylon. Israel’s failure to keep their covenant with Jehovah resulted in numerous warnings, as well as judgments from God’s hand, as predicted in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.
• You see throughout the long history of Israel, God told them that He was their God and His commands must be obeyed, and just like us they got out of hand at times, but when it seemed like they couldn’t find their way back to God, He had to discipline them.
• One way God dealt with them was by allowing other nations to come in and attack them, bringing them back under submission to another nation. God knows how to get our attention, and He knows how to get His children back in line.
At this time in history, Babylon had grown into a powerful nation led by Nebuchadnezzar. The children of Israel had been a divided nation for years. The northern kingdom was called Israel and the southern kingdom was Judah. Israel, the northern kingdom, had already fallen to Assyria, but now the southern kingdom was being attacked and taken captive by Babylon.