Sitting here. Listening to the rain. And getting amber alerts on my phone, due to Hurricane Harvey! Needless to say, I just ran into this devotional that I had charted out for my wonderful friends at Stillwater Community Church sometime last year. So, I thought it would be good to share it on here - especially due to the nature of Houston's inclement weather.
The Daily Dive Devotional (A Series of Stillwater Community Church)
Short Bio: One of the greatest gifts that the LORD has given me, is to be married to Stephany my wife, my crown & my joy! God has also blessed us with four beautiful children...Daniella Ellie, Olivia Grace, Noble Jedidiah, & Finley Judah. An desire & aspiration of mine is to write books on the subject of worship - and make the "Unknown God" known to the Church and to those who would desire to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Fun things I like to do: Hang out with my family & make some memories, play my guitar & write songs for the Church. I also like to take road trips (short & long) with the family! And maybe one day, take my little ones camping and get into the outdoors as a new family tradition. Books I've enjoyed reading: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, In The Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, & The Furious Longing of God. Favorite Food? Mediterranean Cuisine. Favorite Movie? The Passion Of The Christ (for many reasons). It is our joy & privilege to be at Still Water - to serve & connect to a community of believers who love Jesus and enjoy doing life together.
Title: We Worship The Faithful One, Who Rescues Like No One Else Can!
Passage (Daniel 4 NLT):1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments,bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue.6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
In these few passages, we can actually see a dark time for these young Hebrew men. a series of several crazy-like events that led them to this particular predicament. However, there they stood, they had a choice to make. Standing before a king: and a tyrant whose only interest was himself and making his own name glorious and that of his god. He was interested in getting these young men to bow regardless what the cost would be. And these young men chose to NOT bow their knee to the image made of gold. Even if it meant killing themselves in the process!
Ah, but isn't it just like God. To show up at just the appointed time! Yes. He is never late, seldom early, but always on time.
Let's break it down a bit further and take a look at what these young men really did. They faced a powerful enemy who wanted to harm them for the conviction of their hearts. Which was to only worship the Living God. Nothing else. No one else. Moreover, to fully understand this, you must understand why they stood their ground; what for really? Couldn't they have 'bowed' and God have 'seen' their heart. No friends. Faith that is real and alive - needs evidence. Evidence equals works. Therefore their faith was NOT DEAD but ALIVE!! This is the kind of faith that we need. Faith that is real. Faith you can touch. And the kind of faith that can be applied to our everyday lives.
This faith is the kind of faith that fuels our worship.
And the thing that fuels faith is the Love of God in our hearts. Which has been shed abroad for all to receive freely.
Anyway, it sounds a bit like what these young men also had was perspective. A clear perspective of an all powerful God. The kind of God who is faithful. If He said it, shall He NOT do it. If He said it, shall it NOT come to pass? For us, we have to maintain this outlook; this perspective of faith. Where we know the Enemy, who has come to ‘kill, steal, & destroy’ and goes around about like a ‘roaring lion’ seeking whom he may devour is NOT an all powerful equal to God. He is a defeated foe. Perhaps, I would argue that the Bible talks to us about fighting the 'good fight' of faith. And yes, the Enemy will do whatever it takes to get us to bow to a golden image (fill in the blank ____fear, failure, success, greed, sexual immorality; etc.) - whatever that may look like to you, just as long as we only bow & worship this 'false god'. The Enemy is not saying, “don’t worship God” but in actuality he is saying, “in addition to worshipping God, also worship this golden image!” You know that golden image that we try and justify - ie. those people who hurt me; I'm justified in my anger - in my bitterness. No friends. That only is hurting ourselves. These young Hebrew men, are still teaching us how to hear the call of worship. And let our faith rise higher! Our perspective get clearer - and allow God to be God all by Himself. He is worthy of our worship! Let me say this about worship:
When we worship' God. We are ascribing value to Him. We set our affection on Him fully. And in turn, we become more like the object of our worship. We become more like Him. Men and women of faith that are NOT moved by these temporary and light afflictions; but have transfixed our gaze on the glory that awaits us.
I'm sure, that these Hebrew men knew if God would of let them die, the glory that awaited them was far greater than the temporary fire they were facing. The Enemy will spew out his lies in order to make us believe them and skew our view of God’s nature. Once this happens, then we let begin to lose our perspective. We cannot afford to lose our perspective. Because if we don’t have our perspective, then we begin to lose our faith. And that my friends cannot happen. That good fight of faith, has already been won!! So don't let some tricky deceiver shake you. Stand on Jesus. He is the rock of our salvation.
What I love about this passage of scripture is how these wildly passionate young men faced such clear opposition, but nevertheless were NOT easily shaken in their faith and belief in a God of Wonders who still delivers. They definitely had the right perspective of their God, who showed himself as “faithful” & strong. They had this crazy like faith & an attitude that was everything; but unshakable, unmovable, & unstoppable!
Yes, these young men lived by a principle. That is, that God is the one who saves us. He saves, He heals, He restores, & He delivers us like no one else can! He alone is deserving of our full attention, our full worship & adoration, & even our full devotion!
"There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
Are there any lies you have believed the Enemy about God’s nature?
Could there be some place or an area in your life where the Enemy has gotten you to bow?
Is it time to confess our false view of God’s nature to God Himself?
Lastly, confession, Prayer, Scripture reading, Becoming a part of a small group, seeking Godly counsel, all can help us to have a greater dependency & trust in Christ.
Father, make us more like you. Help us to trust in You always. To not be fearful of what is to come, but to be of good courage. To keep fighting the good fight of faith; knowing that it is us fighting from a place of victory. Jesus, be the rock of our lives and the center of our affection towards You. We love you. In Jesus' name. Amen!