Monday, September 30, 2019

Standing Up In A Falling Down World #5: Praying While the World Plots Daniel 6

Praying While The World Plots
Text: Daniel 6:1-28

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C.H. Spurgeon once said, "Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give only an occasional jerk at the rope. But he who communicates with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might."

The World Plots Daniel 6:1-9

 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

God’s Man Targeted

Daniel, whose name means God is my judge,  was taken as a young man probably in his teens from Jerusalem to the capital of the kingdom of Babylon during the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar. Here he was given another name, just as Hananiah, Mishaal and Azariah, his companions. His name in Babylonian, was Belteshazzar, which means O Bel, protect the hostage of the king. From the beginning of their captivity and their grooming to be servants of the king, the Hebrew captives determined to honor their God, their heritage and their families. They did not adopt the customs of their new land, nor their food, and especially not their multiple gods.

Over time Daniel rose in prominence as God gave him opportunity to tell and interpret the dreams of the King. Later in life when he had been almost forgotten he was called once again when during a drunken feast God wrote upon the wall of the grandson of Nebuchaddnezzer in words that none could understand except Daniel. He was called for and read the words…Daniel 5:26-28 God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.  Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.  Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. That very night the army of the Medes and the Persians which had laid siege to the city, diverted a river that ran through the city and entered through the riverbed and took the capital. The Babylonian empire ended and the Persian empire, one of the greatest empires of all time and history began. In that empire Daniel once again rose to prominence.
Daniel chapter 6 take place over 60 years after the events in Daniel chapter 1 and Daniel would be well into his 70s or older when chapter 6 takes place. Darius in now the king of the Persian kingdom and his desire to appoint Daniel as his chief counselor, his prime minister, bring a plot against this faithful man of God. The other 120 governors of the other provinces are jealous and devise a plan to remove the old Jew. The propose that for 30 days all prayers and petitions must be addressed only to the King. If anyone should not obey this decree, then they shall be thrown into the lions den. They did this because they knew Daniel would not pray to any but his God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He would pray to the God of Zion with his face turned toward Jerusalem. They knew this because this is what he had done for over 60 years, three times a day.

God’s Church Targeted

Today in our society more than ever, the world is trying to do to us, what those scheming rulers tried to do to Daniel. They are still plotting to destroy God’s people. They seek to destroy because God’s people live in this world but they are not part of this world.
Scripture: John 17:11-16  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Those who are under the control of the god of this world, hate God and hate God’s people.

Humanist Manifesto II (1973)
We believe that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence; in our judgment, the dogmas and myths of traditional religions do not do so.  Even at this late date in human history, certain elementary facts based upon the critical use of scientific reason have to be restated.  We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race.  As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.
Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence, obedience rather than affirmation, fear rather than courage.  We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species.  While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become.  No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

The creed of humanism is that man is his own god and man is the measure of all things.
Evolution teaches that man is the result not of a creator but of mindless, random chance. Man is no more important than a bug or animal we are all just byproducts of the same random chances. Since man is only an animal, there is no afterlife, no judgment, no heaven, no hell only nothingness after this life.

The Homosexual, now transsexual agenda for society hates and detest Christianity with its rules and morality and is doing all it can to destroy it.

In 1987 Michael Swift said this in the Boston Gay Community News, "We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies. We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in your locker rooms, in your sports arenas, in your seminaries, in your youth groups, ...wherever men are with men together. Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding. They will be recast in our image. They will come to crave and adore us. All churches who condemn us will be closed. Our holy gods are handsome young men. ...We shall be victorious because we are fueled with the ferocious bitterness of the oppressed..." -Michael Swift - Boston Gay Community News - February 15-21, 1987

Culture and Society has become the breeding ground of the worst forms of sexual perversion, and the erasure of all genders. Mankind is determined to remake itself outside the boundaries of even the idea of God, biology or even common sense.

Romans 1:21-28 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (not fitting, not proper, things which should not be done!)

We all know Christian and church members who no longer care about God or the things of God.  Christians whose marriages are ruined and families broken. Christians whose children are rebelling against the Lord and against them, breaking everyone’s hearts. Children and grandchildren who are in love with the world and who believe the lies and plots of this world, who now believe they are not male or female, or that as male or female they can ignore God’s word, God’s law and God’s creation and find happiness in the worst sins condemned by God’s strongest judgments.
Why has this happened? Because the world plotted and they did not even know they were being targeted or how to overcome the evil plans of this world. But Daniel knew as we see in the next passage.

The Believer Prays  Daniel 6:10-17

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

Daniel’s Reaction

When Daniel knew about the plot what did he do? He simply went home and with his window open he prayed, as was his custom. He simply continued as he had for his whole life to stand for God.
Daniel’s prayer shows:
Faith, as he prayed toward Jerusalem, the city of God, believing one day they would return.
It showed worship, as he met and talked with God
It shows humility, as he knelt before his creator and sustainer.
We see his not only his faith but his faithfulness, for the Bible tells us this was his practice, three times a day he sought the face of God.
Petition, he brought his needs before God
Solicitation, he prayed for others.
Gratitude, he gave thanks to his God in even in the midst of persecution.
And Daniel knew that it was not himself or even his act of praying that would overcome the worlds plotting against him. No, he knew the power was with God and it was prayer that put Daniel in contact with God.

Reaction and Action

Our response should be as Daniel’s
Go home, that is where God intends for you to find your strength.
Pray with the windows open. Stand for God openly and without apology.
Pray as is your custom. Be faithful in your prayers and in your service to God.
And especially pray the way Daniel prayed.
In our payers we should worship God. We should have faith. We should pray consistently and faithfully. We should prayer for our needs and for the needs of others and we should above all other things be thankful. In in the times we live, be thankful.

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Bro. Jim Dearmore’s remark on prayer

Jim Dearmore was once ambushed while driving from their compound to get supplies. He was in his Land Rover when suddenly automatic weapons began firing. Hundreds of bullets hit the vehicle, he himself was struck dozens of times, his glasses were even shot off his face and afterward a rocket propelled grenade was found in the back seat but it had not exploded. Brother Dearmore understood opposition and what it might cost to stand for God.
When I was in college, he came as spoke at one of our conferences.  I was listening to him preach when he made this statement, “Telling a Christian that he is reduced to prayer is like telling a soldier he is reduced to the atomic bomb.” I wrote it down in the flyleaf of my Bible so I would never forget it.

To Daniel and to people like Jim Dearmore, prayer is not what you do because you can’t do anything else.  Prayer is what you do to as a child of God to experience God and his power all day and everyday. 

The Father Protects - Daniel 6:18-23

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

God’s Protection of Daniel

Introduction: Difference between a Northern and a Southern fairy tale
A northern fairytale begins "Once upon a time...A southern fairytale begins 'Y'all ain't gonna believe this…
Story of Daniel in the lion’s den.

God’s Protection of Us

God protected Daniel as he protected Hananiah, Azariah and Mishal and I believe that He will also protect us from the wild beasts of spiritual and moral destruction that we face today.
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Some of the lions we face
We face the lion of apathy which seeks to devour our concern for others. The lion of immorality that will destroy our walk with God. The lion of ignorance that take away our minds. The lion of addiction that binds us and makes us slaves. The lion of perversion that twists our mind, heart and body into a misshapen thing instead of God’s highest creation.

But these life and spiritual beasts will have their mouths shut by the angel of the Lord in our life just as they were in Daniel’s.
The mouth of the lion of apathy will be stopped by the angel of compassion.
The mouth of the lion of immorality is stopped by the angel of purity.
The mouth of the lion of ignorance by the angel of truth.
The mouth of the lion of addiction by the angel of submission to God.
The mouth of the lion of perversion by the angel of holiness.
These angels, these messengers of God, are found in the Word of God and unleashed for our protection by our prayers to God.

Elisha prays for his servant to see the host
2 Kings 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Elisha is not here today and we don’t have the same dispensation of miracles that he lived under but this much is the same and will never change, “the mountains are full of horses and chariots of fire round about us” and God’s angels ride with God’s children.

Jim Dearmore was a missionary to Rhodesia  now Zimbabwe, during its civil war, in the 1970s. Jame Dearmore story of the compound protected by men in white.


Yes, the world is plotting against you today, if you are a child of God. The god of this world hates the people of God, the church of God and the word of God. He will use lies, half-truths, evil men, immoral movements and corrupt governments to try and destroy us. But you have a weapon of mass resistance, you have the power of prayer. Take every opportunity to enter the presence of God and to find there the power you need to overcome this world.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Standing Up In A Falling Down World #4: Faith Under Fire - Daniel 3

Faith Under Fire

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Sometimes no matter how unpleasant, how dangerous or how unpopular an action may be, you still have to take that action. In other words, standing up when the world is falling down is not easy, popular or pleasant, but the child of God will still stand up, every single time.

Image of Gold Daniel 3:1-7

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 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. 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. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 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: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 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.

Veneration Assimilation

This image of gold was very tall and very thin, roughly 90 ft tall by 9 ft wide. This meant it was probably a statue that was set upon a tall pedestal or perhaps and obelisk. We are not told what the image was, nor was that important. It could have been an idol, it could have been a image of the King or something that represented his kingdom, like the Babylonian lion. What is important is the command given to the people. When they would hear the music plays they all bow down and do obeisance to the image and to what it represented.

Several times in the passage we are told, all people, all the officials, from all the conquered lands, all the nations and all the languages were to bow down. And in verse 7 that is exactly what they did. Except for 3 lone figures, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.

Conformation Temptation

What is the “image of gold” the world is trying to make you bow to? There are many images of gold today.  Everything from pop culture, to fashion, to sexuality, to the sanctity of life.

These things to which others want us to bow down may not even seem that bad. What was so bad about H,M, A bowing before the idol? They didn’t believe it. They could just go along for the time, not rock the boat, not embarrass themselves, not suffer the cost.  But you see, the problem they faced then is the same problem we face today.  If they had fallen down before the image, then it meant they were declaring, for all the world to see,  that they didn’t belong or obey God. 

There is place in our hearts and lives for the worship of one and only one. You can belong to one and only one.  You can worship and belong to this world and the god of this world, or you can worship and belong to the God of all creation, but you can’t claim both.  There is room in our hearts and lives for only one.
You must choose to conform to the world or transform the world by standing for God.
Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

D.L Moody answers the question, Do I give up the world?

A young man who had recently been converted to Christianity was talking to DL Mood. 
"Now that I am a Christians must I give up the world?" He asked.
"No, you need not give up the world, " replied Moody.  "If you give a ringing testimony for the son of God the world will give you up pretty quick."

Standing Bold Daniel 3:8-18

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 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:  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, [that] he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 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. Then Nebuchadnezzar in [his] rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.   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?  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? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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. 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.

Rejection Conviction

A. M, H & A stand for God's commandments. When I was a boy in Sunday School, the teacher asked my little brother, Cory, the names of the three Hebrew children that were thrown into the fiery furnace.  He thought for a moment and then a smile came on his face and he said, "Shadrach, Meshach and a Billy Goat."
Their real names were not Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, those were their captivity names. Their true names were Hananiah which means "God has favoured"  it was changed to Shadrach = "royal" or "the great scribe", Mishael = "who is what God is"  to Meshach = "guest of a king" , and Azariah = "Jehovah has helped" to Abed-nego = "servant of Nebo"

They are challenged by the King, himself, in Daniel 3:14-15, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?  Now if you are ready when you hear the music to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you will be thrown into a fiery furnace. (and notice his last question) And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Why did these three stand when all others fell down? It was because of who they were and who their God was. They were the Hebrew children, and their God was Jehovah, the creator of the earth and sky, Jehovah was the only true God and Jehovah was the only God worthy of worship or obeisance. Their God had commanded them never to bow to an idol and because they were His they would not bow they would not fall. They may have been in captivity, stolen from their home and family but they still belonged to God.

Their answer reveals the depth of their conviction and belief. Daniel 3:16-18 O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (There is no need for us to answer this question, it did not need to even be asked.) 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.  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.

They had the conviction of their faith and identity and they would reject the kings command. God would deliver them, either by death into His glory or through His providence or by supernatural event our of danger. It did not matter, how, they were convinced that God would deliver them because dead or alive they belonged to God.

Renunciation Determination

There is great strength of will for the person who knows they belong to God. When you know that then you will also know that you can stand up in this falling down world. You’ll stand just as these three stood, because you are His and those that are truly His will always stand.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;  And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

Hebrews 13:6  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

“The power of greatness in not found in physical strength or even in internal courage, but in commitment to righteous convictions.”

Mark Twain once said, "The size of the dog in a fight is not as significant as the size of the fight in the dog."

That's what faith and convictions are in the Christian, that’s what knowing you belong to Him is, it’s the power of righteous conviction,  it’s the fight in the dog. It’s the power to stand when the whole world around you is falling down in sin, conformity and deception.

The difference between David and John Livingstone

There were once two Scottish brothers named John and David Livingstone. John had set his mind on making money and becoming wealthy, and he did. But under his name in an old edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" John Livingstone is listed simply as "the brother of David Livingstone."

And who was David Livingstone? While John had dedicated himself to making money, David had knelt and prayed. Surrendering himself to Christ, he resolved, "I will place no value on anything I have or possess unless it is in relationship to the Kingdom of God." The inscription over his burial place in Westminster Abbey reads, "For thirty years his life was spent in an unwearied effort to evangelize."

On his 59th birthday after the New York reporter Henry Stanley had implored him to come home to a nation that loved and adored him, David Livingstone wrote, "My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All; I again dedicate my whole self to Thee. Accept me and grant O gracious Father, that ere the year is done I may finish my work.  In Jesus name Amen."   A year later he was found on his knees in his tent where he had died in prayer.
David Livingstone belonged to God, dedicated himself to serving God and that made him a great man even if the world had never noticed.

Fire Turned Cold - Daniel 3:19-30

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. 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. 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. 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. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 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.  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

Conflagration Protection

A. M, H & A are bound and thrown into the furnace, this was a smelter, a furnace or forge used to melt and purify metal. So hot was the fire that the men who through them in were killed from breathing the superheated air, Then Nebuchadnezzar looks into this furnace, probably through the door that was not shut after the guards died and gazing from a distance he sees them walking in the middle of the fire and someone walks with them.
Nebuchadnezzar sees this one, standing out in the furnace.

Now he is a pagan and he would not know diety from a doughnut, and he did not know who he saw when he looked in that fiery furnace, but he knew the one he saw no ordinary man, the one he was supernatural, literally, like a son of god.

The one Nebuchadnezzar did not know we do know.  The KJV translators, made sure you would not mistake who was walking with the Hebrew children. It was Jesus Christ.

Jesus, God the Son, was with them protecting them from the fire and I believe that as they were thrown in and fell down in their bonds, Jesus picked them up and set them free.

This was a miracle of deliverance and protection so amazing that every detail was recorded. They were roughly thrown in but they boldly walked out, they went in like bound like slaves but they came out unshackled and free, they went in to be burnt to ash but when they emerged from walking with the Savior, they did not even smell of smoke. That is the power of knowing God and obeying Him.

Resolution Validation

In this day and age more than ever we need to be standing with the outstanding One, just as A, H and M did that day.

Yes, if you stand up for what you know is right, if you stand up for what is true, if you stand up and declare I belong to God, then prepare yourself because you will be punished by this falling down world. You’ll be punished by ridicule, by exclusion, by backbiting, by pressure from your peers and even your family.

In many countries today God’s people are still suffering the fate of  H, M & A. When Isis invaded Christian towns and neighborhoods in Iraq, they crucified men on lightposts and burned entire families in iron cages lowered into the flames. They marked them and their houses with the 14th letter from the Arabic alphabet, the letter noon, like our letter N and it stood as a mark of identification to those who belongs to “the Nazarene” those who belonged to Jesus Christ.

But Jesus promised to be with his own in the fire. His promises are personal and they are powerful.
I am with you always even until the end of the world.
I will never leave you nor forsake thee
I will not leave you comfortless I will come unto you.

It is worth the cost? Can I say along with those who have suffered over the centuries or those who being persecuted today in the middle east or Africa or India, Can I say with them,  “I would rather be in the fire with Jesus than escape the flames and be without Him?

Listen to what Paul said, in …
Romans 8:14-19  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

The earnest expectation, the intense desire of creation, is waiting to behold the revealing of the children of God!
When will the children of God be revealed? When they come through the fire. When they stand up in a falling down world!

The Path I Feared

I said, "Let me walk in the field."      
He said, "No; walk in the town."       
I said, "There are no flowers there."  
He said, "No flowers, but a crown."              

I said, "But the skies are black,          
There is nothing but noise and din."  
He wept as He sent me back. 
"There is more," He said, "there is sin."
I said, "But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun."
He answered, "Yet souls are sick,      
And souls in the dark undone."         
I said, "I shall miss the light, 
And friends will miss me, they say." 
He answered, "Choose tonight          
If I am to miss you, or they." 
I pleaded for time to be given.           
He said, "Is it so hard to decide?       
It will not seem hard in Heaven         
To have followed the steps of your Guide."  

 I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said: "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"

Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light Divine,
The path I had feared to see. -George McDonald

Conclusion: Forty Wrestlers For Christ

            In the days of the Roman Emperor Nero, there lived and served him a band of soldiers known as the “Emperor’s Wrestlers.” Strong, brave men they were, picked from the best and the boldest of the land, and recruited from the great athletes of the Roman amphitheater.

            In the great amphitheater they upheld the honor of the emperor against all challengers. Before each contest they stood before the emperor’s throne. Then through the courts of Rome rang the cry: “We, the wrestlers, wrestling for thee, O Emperor, to win for thee the victory and from thee, the victor’s crown.”

            When the great Roman army was sent to fight in far-away Gaul, no soldiers were braver or more loyal than this band of wrestlers led by their centurion Vespasian. But news reached Nero that many Roman soldiers had accepted the Christian faith. Therefore, this decree was dispatched to the centurion Vespasian: “If there be any among your soldiers who cling to the faith of the Christian, they must die!”

            The decree was received in the dead of winter. The soldiers were camped on the shore of a frozen inland lake. It was with sinking heart that Vespasian, the centurion, read the emperor’s message.
            Vespasian called the soldiers together and asked the question: “Are there any among you who cling to the faith of the Christian? If so, let him step forward!” Forty wrestlers instantly stepped forward two paces, saluted, and stood at attention. Vespasian paused. He had not expected so many. He read to them the emperor’s edict.

“Until sundown I shall await your answer,” said Vespasian. Sundown came, again the question was asked. Again the forty wrestlers stepped forward.

            Vespasian pleaded with them long and earnestly without prevailing upon a single man to deny his Lord. Finally, he said, “The decree of the emperor must be obeyed, but I am not willing that your brothers should shed your blood. I am going to order that you march out upon the lake of ice, and I shall leave you there to the mercy of the elements.”

            The forty wrestlers were stripped and then, falling into columns of four, marched toward the center of the lake of ice. As they marched, they broke into the chant of the arena: “Forty wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the victor’s crown!” Through the long hours of the night Vespasian stood by his campfire and watched. As he waited through the long night, there came to him fainter and fainter the wrestlers’ song.

            As morning drew near one figure, overcome by exposure, crept quietly toward the fire; in the extremity of his suffering he had renounced his Lord. Faintly but clearly from the darkness came the song: “Thirty-nine wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the victor’s crown!”

            Vespasian looked at the figure drawing close to the fire. Perhaps he saw eternal light shining there toward the center of the lake. Who can say? But off came his helmet and clothing, and he sprang upon the ice, crying, “Forty wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, O Christ, to win for Thee the victory” and from Thee, the victor’s crown! - Paul Tassel

What are you standing for?  What are you falling before? 

This world will make you believe that the most important thing is money, acclaim and popularity.  It’s a lie and should you achieve those things you will be broken hearted and empty when you realize how great was the lie that deceived you.

Take a stand for eternity! Take a stand for God, turn your back upon this world and looking into the open arms of Christ, go where He leads, do what He commands, stand where He tells you to stand.  Yes you will pay a price, but the reward will be worth it all.