Summary: The first part of a little child’s prayer goes something like this, "God is great, God is good." Do you find that easy to believe? Is God great and good? In every situation?
THE FIRE THAT COULD NOT BURN
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 3:27
The first part of a little child’s prayer goes something like this, "God is great, God is good." Do you find that easy to believe? Is God great and good? In every situation?
You know, and I know, we all encounter the testing of our faith in God’s goodness and greatness. Especially does it happen when we experience some threatening problem or tragedy in our lives.
Bad things-and I mean terrible things-can happen to believers Just as they happen to unbelievers. If you do not believe that, just read again the first two chapters of Job in the Old Testament. The tragedy he experienced was almost too bad to believe.
To remind us how severe his personal tragedy was, his wife asked him to curse God and die. Job rejected her advice and continued to put his trust in God. It wasn’t easy for him. In fact, it was a real struggle, but in the end things turned around for his good and God gave him twice what he had before. Job is a role model for us today when we are experiencing a terrible problem and life-threatening tragedy.
You see, Satan brings all kinds of things against us to get us to doubt and deny God. He does not want us to put any trust in Him. Satan would have us to believe that he is going to defeat and ultimately destroy us. That is what he is up to when he puts problems and tragedies in our way. Jesus tells us the devil will come around and try to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). We must do as Job and respond out of faith and complete trust in God, rather than fear and doubt.
Regardless of what the enemy might bring against us in the areas of finances, marriage, family, sickness, or job security, God is good, God is great, and God can turn it around. Paul said, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
In Daniel 3:27 we have a text that speaks about God turning a bad situation around. The story is about three men whom the devil set out to literally destroy. They were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. What looked like total defeat ended up being something harmless.
It is an old story we all know about, but we need to take a new and deeper look at all the factors involved in light of present world conditions.
My text reads,
"And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them."
God took the power out of the fire. It was the fire that could not burn!
A HEATHENISH PROPOSITION
First of all, let us consider that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were confronted with a heathenish proposition. It is clearly stated:
"Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (Daniel 3:15).
Who were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They were the three young men (along with Daniel) from Jerusalem who were taken captive to Babylon by the army of King Nebuchadnezzar. Upon arriving in Babylon, they were hand-picked to enter into a very special three-year educational program sponsored by the office of the king.
They were young and handsome. They were single and had a good education under their belt. They were away from home out from under parental care. They were holding prestigious positions in the government. They were on their way up the "corporate ladder."
Then came an unexpected proposition. You might think at first that it sounded harmless, that it wouldn’t hurt anything. But since we know the first three commandments, we know that this proposal is totally and completely offensive to God. They tell us in no uncertain terms that there are to be no other gods, no graven images, and no one is to bow down and worship any image. God has made this commandment absolutely clear!
It seems there are heathenish propositions all around us today. Proponents tell us they are for our good . . . they will enhance society in general and the quality of our life in particular. There is the pro-abortion proposition, the sexual orientation proposition, the situation ethics proposition, and the permissive proposition. They may sound good at first, but they are in conflict with God’s word. What we believe and practice should be based on Scripture and not mere human reason.