Summary: God is in control – even during crises. Therefore he is worthy of our trust – even during crisis.
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All scripture is from the New Living Translation
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1. Read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego using a preschool story book
That in a nutshell is it. And other than the fact that the pictures are great – one of the reasons I like the way that this book tells the story is that it really captures the point of the whole thing.
So often we tell kids the story of Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and it ends up coming out like they are the point of the story – that you should go out and be like these three guys.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some of that in the story – perhaps even a lot of that – but really that’s a secondary point.
This story isn’t really about what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego accomplished as great men of faith – rather it is about God and the fact that he was able to take care of his people in the midst of a crisis.
As the story book puts it – “The King knew that God had taken care of them...”
God is in control even during crises. Therefore he is worthy of our trust – even during crisis. This is the key point this morning. God is in control even during crises. Therefore he is worthy of our trust – even during crisis.
And really there are two main sections in the story
which bring out the point.
Look at 3:13. "Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. When they were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar said to them, ’Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?’”
Hmm? Sounds kind of arrogant to me. “What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?”
And it sounds like a challenge, too. You can see where this story is going – and indeed the three know.
Verse 16 – "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, ’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."
The king says "No god can save you from me."
Rach, Shach, and Benny say “Hold your horses, your majesty! Don’t underestimate our God...”
There is a little bit of “My father could beat up your father” bantering here.
“The God whom we serve is able to save us...”
• Are you hearing that King?
• Are you hearing that Jewish people in exile?
• Are you hearing that subsequent generations under Persian and Roman rule?
• Are you hearing that early church as Nero’s lions chase you around the Colosseum?
• Are you hearing that modern church, as the naysayers tell you that God is irrelevant to 21st century life?
"We won’t give in because the God whom we serve can save us."
Verse 18 – (And I was half tempted to stop here and just spend a week on this one verse) "But even if he doesn’t..."
I think this is the best line in the book of Daniel –"but even if he doesn’t...”
Even if God chooses not to intervene "Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
These guys are wiling to hold on even if things don’t turn out well. They know that God is in charge and that in spite of their circumstances – that he is going to work things out according to his big picture plan.
And there are plenty of times when God doesn’t rescue his people in the manner which they would like.
It is estimated that there have been 70 million Christian martyrs over the last 2,000 years. About 37 million of that 70 million were Christians who died at the hands of the Communists in the 20th century.
Over half of all Christians who have ever died because of their beliefs did so in the last 100 years.
Then there were about 12.5 million who died in the 13th and 14th centuries in China at the hands of Mongols Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.
That’s a lot of believers who said “even if...”