Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Grace of Repentance 8.2.1015
Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen.

How are you today? We have another day of God's favor towards us, for soon the sun will pop up over the eastern horizon and a new day, a day which has never been before will begin to dawn into which we will have the privilege to rejoice in and into which will be looking for ways to bring cheer and refreshment into the lives of the people with which we are blessed to have around us. We ask: In what ways will the Lord show Himself in His splendor today? Where will we be seeing Him work? All in all, when a new day comes, even if we struggle with the uncertainties of life at times, we through those same struggles have learned and are yet learning to look for the "givingness" of the Lord both in creation and in revelation as we welcome each new day. Which means that by observance of His visible creation we are reminded that He exists to bless and through revelation we are personally ministered to Him by His Word and Spirit which minister the Saviour of our soul to us, Jesus the Christ.

There are terms which describe the witness of creation and revelation: General revelation (creation) and special revelation (Word and Spirit) What a blessing that we have both as the testimony of the reality of the existence of God: Creation and revelation. So let us thank our Creator God and Father, the One who always has been, is and always will be, for He has brought to us the knowledge and continues to bring unto us the knowledge that He loved us in creation, He loved us through our fall into sin and He has brought redemption to us through His Son, Jesus the Christ!

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? I hope not, for it is an important one and one through which we will approach our text today which is from the next chapter in our study in the book of Daniel: Chapter 4. Here is the question: Is there a point in your life which is very defined at which you came to know and understand that redemption was for you? That you needed it? That forgiveness was for you? Is there a certain day? For me, there is not a specific day or point that I remember, which is perhaps due to the fact that I was raised in a Christian home by my father (who died when I was 11) and mother and regularly was around the Christian community. But there have been many times in my life when the Lord showed me of His great grace towards me as struggled and battled (and still do) with the temptations of the world, of the devil and of my own fleshly will. But let us never forget that His grace is greater than all our sin.......

Yet others remember very well the occasion and perhaps the very day when the need for the forgiveness of their sins came crashing down on their life with such an impact that they put all other things aside in order to be assured that the guilt that they were experiencing could be totally removed. They understood that it would not be removed by forgetting about it, by fleeing to some kind of momentary "pain reliever" or by resolving to stop sinning. No, they understood that the atoning blood of Jesus Christ had been shed 2000 years ago was what they needed applied to their guilt ridden and weighed down soul. When they heard and believed the Gospel message of the forgiveness of their sins, the weight fell away, their eyes were opened to "see and their hearts rejoiced in knowing that they were clean through the blood of Christ. Many people with such experiences look back at those times with thankfulness and joy as they remember the day when the Lord brought them from death to life. For it was on that day that the Lord revealed Himself to them and as a result life has never been the same, for it was like getting a new heart, a new mind, new ears, new eyes, and so on. From that time on life began to be more about others than about oneself.

Whether or not we have the watershed moment in our lives or not, I think that we would all agree that it is the Lord's desire to increase our knowledge of Him and of His Son into our hearts and minds. And namely that knowledge is that He loved us while we were yet sinners and sent His Son redeem us back to Himself through the cross. We now live and will never die!!! We recall that just before He was betrayed by His disciple Judas, He prayed for all the Christians who were to come: John 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Through the indwelling presence of His Spirit, that is what He continues to do as He works in us to bring increase in the knowledge of the grace and truth in Christ. In our lesson today, even is it is in the Old Testament and a time before the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit began, nevertheless the heart of God towards His created souls is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament: He wants to bring the Promise into everyone's heart and soul, the prophetic future Promise in the Old Testament and the revealed historical Promise in the New Testament. I am gracious and merciful, I have always been and I will always to to those who love me and await my final return.....

That was kind of a long intro, but as we work through the experience of King Nebuchnezzar, I believe that it will be plain as to why I opened in such a manner. So without any further ado, let us get into our text today, as it should be very interesting as well as applicable.

The title that was placed on our meditation today is "the grace of repentance." Two other scripture readings were read that go along with that theme, one from the 32nd psalm which is David's testimony of his life before and after he came to become convicted of the sins of adultery and murder. The other reading was from Luke 15 and it focuses on the return of the son to the Father's house who had earlier left to spend his life as he best saw fit according to his own selfish desires and needs. As he descended deeper and deeper into physical hunger and into the poverty of his soul, he finally "came to himself" and decided to return to his Father's house where he remembered that there would be plenty to eat. In both cases they were given the grace of repentance, or the grace of turning around and going back to their God, to their Father.

What about Nebuchnezzar? How did it go with him? You are probably getting very curious by now....Well, to recount his life so far, we remember that he was the King of Babylon, Daniel and his three friends had been placed in high levels of his government as a result of their God given wisdom and leadership abilities. The King had a dream which Daniel interpreted as pointing to the fact that the Babylonian Empire of which King Nebuchnezzar was over was going to go the way of the following three world kingdoms: they would all fade into history, but that the fifth kingdom that Daniel described in the following manner:

KJV Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.
47 The king answered and said to Daniel, "Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a re vealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery."
48 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king's court.

In chapter 3, we read of how after this amazing happening, that King Nebuchnezzar had a golden statue made which would seem to represent himself and his kingdom, and the requirement was that all would bow down to that statue and his rule. The three young men did not bow down when the call came to do so, but instead entrusted their lives to the Living God of Israel, knowing that their allegiance was to Him and to Him only. As a result they were thrown into the fire, but the Lord chose to deliver them out of the fire, and even came to them in the midst of the fire to the amazement of the king. It would make sense that the king was trying to stall the eventual demise of his kingdom by trying to make absolute obedience to himself, which apparently all others bought into except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In the end, the king made a decree declaring the following:

Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way."
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

As we are considering the grace of repentance, let us see how it is going with the king. We know that the Lord, even tho the King doesn't know or recognize it, has raised him up to the the king, has given him his abilities to prosper in His kingdom and the Lord wants to bring this revelation to King Nebuchnezzar. In other words, the Lord is working on him to bring him to an understanding that He is the only God, and not just one of many gods, or even the most High God. The Only God. Let us keep that in mind. So far, the king has heard the interpretation of his dream by Daniel even though the king did not tell Daniel what the dream was. Were the kings eyes opening a little bit, when he said::

Daniel 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Note that the king said: "Your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets..."

At the end of chapter 3, the king referred to our God as the God of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, and pointed out that no god is able to deliver in that way that he did. The king recognized that this god far surpassed any god he had ever worshipped, but he was still one of many gods. But..God wanted King Nebuchnezzar, just like he wants all leaders of governments to come into the knowledge that He is the Only God of the world and of the universe who superintends all world events. God was not finished with the king, and now, can you believe it, we finally get to our text for the day.

Daniel 4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.
3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

He spoke peace to all, testified of the signs and wonders that the "high" God had done towards him, even praising Him for them, for his everlasting kingdom and acknowledged that his dominion was from generation to generation. But..........the Only God wanted to bring him greater knowledge and so....

4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.
7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

He had another dream, he sought the usual way of understanding it, but his best could not do it for him. Then came in Daniel again......We wonder, why did he not ask Daniel at first? Perhaps a clue is given in verse 8 when he testifies to Daniel being of the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar that the king had given him. He still hung onto his god, but the king knew that Daniel had an ability that none of his counselors possessed. So... enter Daniel...whom the king called master of magicians.....

8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,
9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:
12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;
14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:
16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied (appalled, stunned) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

The interpretation pointed to the king, and it did not remove the prophecy of the first dream, but it did provide for an extension to his kingdom if he would "break of thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. This was was the message was from the Lord. He was given twelves months for the grace of repentance to occur in his heart, and if he did not receive this counsel and change, he would have to learn from God in a much more humbling manner.....verse 25

29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

Wait, that does not sound like one who "comes to their right mind." Instead, of recognizing who has given him the power and honour, he took it for himself......The Lord in his love for the king, enacted the next action into the life of the king which was designed to bring the king to the right way of thinking about who the Only God is.

31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

.We must never forget that God is merciful towards all and all that He does towards us is designed to bring us to this knowledge. Otherwise we will look at this event of the king being an animal eating grass in the field as from a mean and angry God who delights in the absurd treatment of humans. In this case that is recorded for us, in verse 34 the king "comes to his right mind" as indicated by lifting his eyes to heaven....Let us read the last part of the chapter.

34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

The last verse is a powerful testimony of the change brought into the mind and heart of King Nechadnezzar, for he said of the King of heaven: "His works are truth, his ways are judgment and those that walk in pride he is able to humble." He had been humbled before the mighty hand of the Only God. He was given the grace of repentance.

Let us make some application by asking a few questions:

Do we think that God wants to change the hearts of our leaders who are not living in humility before Him and His Word as reflected by their opposition to His teaching? 2 Peter 3:9

Do we think that He can change their hearts and lives? Daniel 4:34

Do we have a responsibility towards bringing a change into their lives? 1 Timothy 2:1-5

In closing, let us bring this closer concerning the grace of repentance. God desires that we receive this grace daily and that as we hear and read the Word that we would live in this grace continually, being sensitive to the Word as it ministers to us. As precious as a day in the past when that grace was given to us initially, those who recall that time have come to recognize that this is a grace that is continually being given from heaven by our God, but at times it is blocked by our sin and sinful behaviour.

Sometimes it takes a long time before this grace penetrates into our mind, heart and soul in order that it might bring us back to a place of our need for His grace and change. Let us be encouraged today that He is always working to bring people to Himself and may we in our discouragement not give up on people who are thinking and acting contrary to the ways of our Lord. For if we give up on them, we are essentially giving up on God and on the power that He uses to draw precious souls to Himself.

Let us be refreshed today in the renewed knowledge that He is working underneath the surface, so may we pray for those whom we so dearly love that they would not harden their hearts, but that they would receive the amazing grace of God for them. He is working, and may the story below really apply this truth today to us: God is working the grace of repentance in human hearts!!

I don't read many fiction books, but I have never been able to forget a scene in one of them I read a number of years ago. A man who was serving the Lord in the ministry had become self focused to the point where he continually chose others over his own wife, his own family and his church family. He did not hear the rebukes of those who loved him and who tried to caution him and to warn him of his self focused direction and ended doing things that deeply hurt and betrayed his wife and his family.

As he continued his downward spiral of sin, the Lord used a very unusual happening to bring him to his "right mind." As he was driving down the highway, a jackrabbit ran across the road, and in order to not run over the jack rabbit, he swerved, missed the jackrabbit and ended up running into the ditch. As his car came to a stop, a glass picture frame of his wife slid to the floor, ending face up with the glass broken, but her beautiful smile gazed on him.

At that moment revelation of the truth came to him. "I swerved to miss from running over a jackrabbit and all these years I have been running over my wife." He was given the grace of repentance.

May the Lord bless your thoughts and meditations in His Word now and always.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 02 Aug 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Our God Reigns 7.26.2015
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with all of us now and forever, Amen.

Good morning, how goes it? We are in another day of the amazing grace of God through Christ Jesus and we have another day in which to see the blessings that He is going to place before us today in our lives. We can be sure that just as the sun comes up in the east that our God is working His will and His ways out in our day as it proceeds. May we be especially mindful of those workings of favor and grace before us as we embrace the new day.

As Christians, we have our identity in Jesus Christ. That means that we are children of the most High God, for we have been created by Him in our mother's womb, we have been born into the world and through Christ we have been born into the kingdom of God, a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We live in a world that is hostile to their own Creator, for those whose identity is in themselves do not know that they have been recreated in Christ, and therefore live according to the desires and wants of their carnal portion. They can do no other, for that is who they are. That is their identity.

This has always been the case as we shall see in our studies today. As long as those two realms are separate and there is the freedom to worship as one wishes to, there is no conflict, But what happens when the worldly realm begins to push into our worship of the Living God through Christ? What happens when the laws of the land are contrary to the laws of the kingdom of God? What happens when public worship is resisted? What are we to do? How do we react and respond?

Let me begin with a question: When you hear the name Daniel in relation to the Bible, what comes to mind? Most people will say, Daniel in the Lion's Den. But what about another story from the book of Daniel? How about the story of the three men who refused to bow down to the statue that Nebuchhadnezzar had made and as a result were thrown into a burning fiery furnace? Do you remember that one? Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego? Do you remember what happened to them? The story of Daniel being put into the Lion's Den is in chapter six of the book of Daniel while the story of the three young men is in chapter 3. So, let us take a look today at the historical happening in chapter 3 and perhaps sometime later we will consider as to how Daniel ended up being thrown into the lion's den.

First, we will give a little background on the book of Daniel, for we will not be able to correctly understand this story if we do not place it in its proper context in his book. Daniel wrote it and he wrote it in the sixth century before Christ. We also note that this book is not intended to give an account of the life of Daniel. It gives neither his lineage, nor his age, and recounts but a few of the events of his long career. Nor is it meant to give a record of the history of Israel during the exile, nor even of the captivity in Babylon.

Its purpose is to show how by His providential guidance, His miraculous interventions, His foreknowledge and almighty power, the God of heaven controls and directs the history of nations.

The book also shows how God, uses the lives of the Hebrew captives and of the mightiest of the kings of the earth, He accomplished His Divine purposes.

May through hearing and thinking about these important things that are coming increasingly closer to us cause us to search the scriptures more carefully so that we will come to know in a clearer manner that indeed Our God Reigns! Being reminded and assured of that we will with confidence face the future, we will by our attitudes, words and actions demonstrate to those around us in Whom we trust, and we will continually reminds those around us that: Our God Reigns.

Daniel and his Jewish countrymen had been taken out of their homeland due to the judgment of God (Dan 1:2) for their collective sin, while in their captivity, God had given them great wisdom, they had been placed in leadership positions by the king, they had prayed with Daniel for the interpretation of the king's dream, and it had been given by God.

Daniel 2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

The king had rewarded them all as a result of the interpretation, but how did he respond as to how he understood the dream? For Daniel spoke of how three great kingdoms would come after his kingdom, and of how the last kingdom would crush all previous kingdoms and would be an eternal kingdom. He began to build a 90 foot image of gold, and he scheduled a dedication to be held at which every person who did not bow down to the idol was to be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Did he get it that the days of his kingdom were numbered and that he would try to hang on by force?

What must the three young men have thought as the building of the image of gold neared its completion, What must they have experienced as they went to the ceremony? What did they do when the music began to play? Let us read the account...

KJV Daniel 3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits,(90 feet) and the breadth thereof six cubits:(9 feet) he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

But there were three that were not included in the all. They did not it just because everyone else was doing it. What about all their countrymen who had come with them from their homeland? They were apparently bowing down the the image......

What were they to do? Do like their friends did? Their God had given them great wisdom, far above all the the king's advisors, and He had delivered them by revealing the King N's dream to Daniel. God had worked out their blessings due to their asking Him, but now their lives were on the line. So for they had committed themselves to honoring their laws about diet and God had blessed them, they had out of desperation prayed that He would reveal the king's dream to Daniel. but now their lives were really on the line.

All they had to do now is to bow down to the idol and their life would be preserved.. Would they think like this: "In my heart I know that this is just an idol, I will benefit my people more by staying alive than by being dead. Who will be an advocate for them if I get myself killed for refusing to bow down to an idol who is just a stone? How about my family? God knows my heart and so on. Is it like, I will sacrifice my principles to get elected, than when I am elected I will stand with God and his principles.

8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The accusers lied about the three not regarding the king, but in the other two accusations they were correct.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15 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 musick, 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?

2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Previously the king had bowed before Daniel, but now he was in a rage against Daniel's three friends. Instead of saying that what god will deliver you out of the hands of my god, he says: "What god will deliver you out of my hands?" The ultimate situation of a man placing himself in the place of God. We will see later in this book how King N was going to have to learn the hard way who he was in relation to God. K N was going to give them another chance for them to commit their allegiance to his ultimate authority, for he must have thought no human would refuse to bow to him at the risk of death.

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

First of all, they rejected K N's assertion that their God was powerless to deliver them out of his hands. But they did not presume to dictate to God that He would deliver them. The K had never come up against such men, even in his own government who worshipped their absolute Lord, the God of heaven,as these men did. Even if it meant death, they were not going to publicly bow down to the image that K N had made. K N thought, well, I will be rid of them and that will be that...So he thought.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, 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.

They trusted God for their deliverance, whatever that would be. They understood that in dying, they would live eternally. Their trust in God changed the king's word.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

K N was quite a king. One moment he was bowing down Daniel, the next moment he was raging at the three men for not bowing down to him and lastly he threatened to kill anyone who speaks against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.


Luke 14:25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

The cost of being a follower of Jesus Christ is great, but the rewards are beyond great, as the two above verses teach. Let us remember that God is faithful, for those who place His trust in Him will be delivered in the manner that God wants to give them provision. Nebuchnezzar was acting like any king who had power and authority which wanted to show by the statue. God is faithful and those who trust Him will be taken care of. There is no reason to fear political power, for we are under the protection and provision of Someone much greater than any human leader, regardless of how important they may think they are and of how much authority they think they have. For earthly kings have no more authority than that which God gives to them.

May we be reminded of what the hymn writer wrote: "This is My Father's world, O let me ne'er forget That through the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one."

Let us keep looking forward and up.......

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 26 Jul 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Grace of Repentance 8.2.1015
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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob