Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baptism by Fire

  In the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Daniel there is a story about three men.  These three men stood toe to toe with the world's most powerful ruler at that time in history.  His name was Nebuchadnezzar.  When this king set up a statue of gold and decreed that at the sound of music, everyone should bow and worship this statue these three men (Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego) said this: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter.  If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O King, let him deliver us.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18 NRSV). 
  What a powerful example of trust in God's power.  They are faced with the certain demise of being burned alive in a blazing hot oven.  What is even more amazing is that they are not even going to hold God to saving them.  They simply declare their allegiance no matter what may come, death or deliverance.  It makes no difference to them, God is still God, and this king will not sway their allegiance.  What a powerful picture of courage and faith in God!
  Most Sunday School children know that God does deliver them from the fire, and it is quite a miraculous deliverance.  Even if God had not saved them by way of the angel, God would still have been glorified by their declaration in word and deed of their faith in Him to be the one and only God.