|clip art from dltk-bible.com|
Daniel 3:15-18 (NIV)
This is a popular Old Testament story... one 'most everybody has heard at one time or another. It's an example of great faith and obedience. (Yep - that pesky obedience crops up in nearly every lesson!)
I remember hearing it in Sunday School as a child. Of course, I didn't really understand it; it was an example of a miracle from God, but I didn't get much more out of it...("When I was a child I spoke as a child, but when I grew up I put away childish things." I Corinthians 13:11)
|painting from www.ageffert.wordpress.com|
But when Nebuchadnezzar approached the opening of the furnace and looked in, he saw FOUR men - unbound, walking around, unharmed, "...and the one looks like a Son of the gods." (Daniel 3:25 NIV) Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the men be removed from the furnace. And when they were brought out the men were neither scorched, nor smelling of fire. What an amazing story!
|painting from www.proudnebuchadnezzar.com|
I wish I could say that this was the end of Nebuchadnezzar's treachery, but it wasn't... he "had a ways to go..." But, he did eventually find his way to God. Read the book of Daniel and you will see... Regardless of how long it took for this courageous act to convince Nebuchadnezzar and/or any of the other people who witnessed this miracle of God, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were obedient to God's commandment and were rewarded for their obedience.
|painting from www.10commandments.biz|
The ten commandments are still in effect today. They are not the ten suggestions, although many of us act as if they were. We tend to go through the list of commandments, seeing how we measure up, giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt, hoping we are "okay". Are we being honest in our self-assessment? On the surface we probably think we are okay with the idol worship commandment. We don't build statues of gold or wood, expecting our family, friends, and neighbors to bow down to them... We're nothing like ol'
king Nebuchadnezzar, right???
Well... wait a minute. Maybe there are other things... subtle modern-day idols that we have slowly learned to bow down to without even realizing our backs are bent! Things like television. Possessions. One's children or grandchildren. Sports. Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Self-worship Movie stars. Rock stars. Maybe even a Christian band... The list could go on and on... People can make almost anything an object of worship.
If you want to know where your heart is, look at these two things: Look at your calendar to see where you spend your time. And look at your checkbook to see where you spend your money. This will reveal your true relationship with God.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Jesus speaking, in Matthew 6:21 NIV)