A God who comes through for us – Wednesday, 5th week of Lent – Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95/ John 8:31-42
The text of today tells us that the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, erected a massive golden statue and commanded that all must bow before it. Why Nebuchadnezzar set up the golden images is not explicitly stated but by doing this has places himself beyond God. This directly challenges the faithfulness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the exiles who are now governors in this Chaldean land and because of the King’s decree to worship the statue, are threatened with death.
At the end the previous chapter, Nebuchadnezzar had announced that true knowledge and true power comes from Daniel’s God. But at the beginning of Daniel 3, the king seems to have forgotten his earlier confession, and, at the prodding of some Babylonian sages (the Chaldeans), he entraps the Jewish friends and arrogantly dismisses their God. Some scholars argue that the time lapse between chapters two and three could have been several years but whatever be the case, the reality of human arrogance stands.
Many who read Daniel chapter three think that initially the central conflict of the story involves idolatry. However, as the story progresses, a different conflict emerges; between the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar and the power of God. This is seen at the conclusion of this narrative; we see how Nebuchadnezzar is amazed by God, not merely by the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Our faith in God and our worship of him must not draw the attention of people to ourselves. Each time Jesus worked a mighty miracle it was not to draw attention to himself but “that God may be glorified.” When mighty deeds are wrought in our life we should not and cannot be the centre of glory even if we are truly holy in God’s eyes. People must be amazed by God as Nebuchadnezzar was, not by our actions, no matter how holy or pious they are.
Faith healers and preachers who have been given such gifts from the Holy Spirit must remember this fundamental guiding principle as should every one of us who serves the Church in any capacity.
Finally, I would like to leave you with some more take aways from the text
1. Remember to be true to God. Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego made the right choice and stuck with it despite the rage of many and the threat to their lives, so we need to make right choices. We can’t let difficult circumstances lead us to be unfaithful to God.
2. Remember to entrust yourself into God’s hands. Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, in full faith, gave their lives into God’s hands in their trial, so should we because God is more than able to take care of us too.
3. Remember God will be with you. Just as he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, so he will walk with you through your fiery trials.
4. Finally, remember that God will come through for you. Just as he came through for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, so he will come through for you. Like them, we don’t know how he will do this, through a miracle or strengthening us to endure and overcome in the midst, or in the world to come. But God is faithful and he will come through.