Summary: Here are a few guidelines to increasing our resolve that we can glean from the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they faced the wrath of the King and the fiery furnance

Increasing Our Resolve (Dan 3:1-30)

In order to overcome the tendency to be impulsive, obsessive or compulsive one needs greater resolve. A person with resolve decides firmly to do something regardless of surrounding circumstances. People who increase in their resolve gain greater mental, emotional and spiritual determination to complete their commitments.

Illustration: Someone once asked Paul Harvey, the journalist and radio commentator, to reveal the secret of his success. "I get up when I fall down," said Harvey.

Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 16.

Illustration: Everybody recognizes that Ludwig van Beethoven was a musical genius. But few realize the adversity he had to overcome to achieve greatness. In his twenties, Beethoven began to lose his hearing. Because he couldn’t feel the music as he once had, on one occasion he said his fingers became "thick." His hearing problems haunted him into the middle years of his life, but he kept it a guarded secret. By the time he reached his fifties, Beethoven was completely deaf. But he refused to give up. He was once overheard shouting at the top of his voice, "I will take life by the throat!" Many of his biographers believe the only reason Beethoven remained productive for so long was this determination.

Today in the Word, September 5, 1993.

Song: I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. Though none go with me still I will follow. (3x) No turning back. No turning back.

Here are a few guidelines to increasing our resolve that we can gleane from the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they faced the wrath of the King and the fiery furnance:

1. OBEDIENCE - The men determined that they would obey God rather than King Nebuchadnezzar even if it meant a painful death. They realized that to bow to an idol would mean disobeying the first of the ten commandments. They knew that they must obey God rather than men. Like the faith of Moses they "Chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." (Heb. 11:25)

Determine in advance to obey God regardless of the costs to your own perceived welfare. Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me and I will love him and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:21) The greatest way you can demonstrate your love for God is through obedience. The deepest needs of your life are met when you obey God. Your greatest problems can be overcome as you obey God. Anything less than complete obedience will always leave you unfulfilled and regretful.

2. FEAR GOD MORE THAN PEOPLE - Jesus said, "I tell you friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you fear him." (Luke 12:4,5) When we fear God we will have no fear of men. David wrote, "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. He will not fear when the evil day comes because His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." (Psa 112:1,2)

3. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS SOVEREIGNTY - The men knew that God could deliver them, but they did not presume upon the Lord. Instead, they said, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Dan. 3:17,18) Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego totally relied on God’s sovereign power to do whatever pleased Him. Like Job they realized, "Lord, you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:1,2) We need to believe and act in a way that demonstrates our confidence in the fact that our Father knows what is best. God, surely will work all things together for good as we love Him and since we are called according to His plan. (Rom. 8:28)

4. OFFER NO EXCUSES - Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego could have offered many excuses and compromised with the king. They might have rationalized by saying, ’We will go through the motions of bowing down but not really worship the idol in our hearts.’ One of them might have reasoned, ’We could bow down and simply ask God to forgive us later.’ Like some people today, they might suggest that the king was given his power by God and so we must obey the governing authorities. Someone might have said, "When in Rome do as the Romans do." Others might have thought, ’We are not really hurting anybody in doing this and we want to be culturally contextually to enhance cross-cultural relationships. Or finally, they might have reasoned,’If we get killed then some pagans are going to gain our positions of influence and use it for greater evil.’

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