Lessons From Exile: Freed From the Furnace
Lessons From Exile: Freed From the Furnace
When is a time that you have had this kind of unwavering dedication to an idea? Maybe honesty about a previously committed foible. A firm “no” to the beseeching of a temptor.
There may be times in which our automated response is unequivocal loyalty to God and His moral dictates, but when is a time when you have paused? Hesitated? More than that, how many times in your life have you given in to the allure of sin? More than we dare innumerate I am sure.
This makes the example of these 3 men even more impressive. They stood firm in their belief not once, but twice. Even in the face of the enraged Ruler who had conquered the world!
THink about that last bit for a second. Have you met someone in whom you were in awe over? An athlete or actor, maybe famous author, anyone who for one reason or another causes you to pause tongue-tied to even be in their presence. Nebuchadnezzar was that guy. He was the president x 10. THE ruler. Even though these 3 had perhaps been in the presence of the king before, maybe even several times, there is no doubt that being called before this man is something to give pause.
These boys not only adhered strictly to their loyalty to God, they did so in a foreign land after they had already been served up to this foreigner. God had already allowed them to lose once and yet despite that they still obeyed and trusted Him. They were loyal and faithful in the face of an enraged man who had the power not just to kill them but to make them suffer.
This isn’t a fairytale where the bad guy always leaves room for the good guy to escape or where they never actually torture or punish the hero - this is a king who has conquered, slayed and caused to suffer hundreds of thousands of people. He would not hesitate to give the command to these 3.
But they were unwavering.
What is even more impressive is that in this instance we have clear language showing that they are not just blindly loyal to God - they go in with both eyes wide open. “Even if He does not”. We believe even if it doesn’t work out for us. We believe even beyond what it will gain for us here and now.
We believe no matter what.
What are some hymns that go along with this idea of unwavering loyalty? Who are some other Bible characters that demonstrate this as well?
Serve God for Nothing
Does Job serve God for nothing? That is at the heart of the inquest of Satan. Job only serves God for his own gain. We believe that we should serve God for more than just our benefit but do we truly?
My point is not that we can be truly altruistic but maybe more directly I want us to relate this to the here and now. Do we serve God for a big house? Okay maybe that isn’t your struggle, but do you serve God for good health? For peace and security?
The fact is that we cannot expect better than what our savior faced.
Hebrews 5:7-9 - In the days of his flesh, Jesus[a] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him
So then we are given a similar charge as to that of the Church at Smyrna:
Revelation 2:10 - Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The reason why people of the Christian faith have suffered through martyrdoms and persecutions is because of this promise - life to those who follow, even if they die. This is the power of the resurrection of Jesus - we have hope through even the veil of death.
Again, what are some Hymns that help articulate this idea?
God Did Save Them
Even though God did not have to, He saved them. This isn’t to guarantee our saving in a similar circumstance but it does demonstrate the care of God.
Love that is so mighty that it cost even the Son His life is love that can redeem us. The point is to look past all of the bluster of life and see into the reality of our faith. See that God saves; Jesus saves. God saved these 3 young Judaeans, he can save you.
God Can save you from the present distress… but even if he does not….. Fill in the blank. Whether it is the current pressing circumstances or any other sort of crisis how will you finish the sentence? God can save me, but if he doesn’t…..
What are some examples in the Bible of people who weren’t saved? Does that change the reality of what they believed?
What are some hymns that can help us look past the realities of a fallen world?