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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Pastor's Blog

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.

Application:

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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