And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.
**Use our position to influence others.
Daniel 2 tells of the incredible vision that God gave the King. Daniel interprets the dream in this manner—a line of successive kingdoms would arise and conquer most of the know world. The dream came to pass exactly as Daniel prophesied and was ultimately fulfilled after Daniel faded from the scene.
After this interpretation was given, Daniel requested that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be made rulers over the entire Babylonian Empire. The request was granted and Daniel’s friends were promoted. Daniel used his position to influence others.
We ought to be looking to do the same as Daniel. Granted, not many of us will ever rise to this level of power and authority. Nonetheless, we should use our influence to help, encourage, and lift others up.
Has the Lord given you a position of authority? If so, realize that it is He that has lifted you up. And then look for times where your influence can change things for the better. You are where you are for a reason. Don’t miss what God may have for to you do especially while you have the occasion to effect positive change.
Position doesn’t last forever. May we redeem the time by using whatever platform God has given us to tell others about Jesus. Daniel didn’t waste his opportunity to did good for his companions. Neither should we!
But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:18
**There will be challenges to your faith.
We have been examining principles that help us thrive in a culture that is becoming more and more foreign to us as Believers. The book of Daniel is replete with wisdom on this subject. And the principle that we will examine this week is very apropos to our time and place.
Challenges to the Christian faith abound in our day. Basic principles of right and wrong have now been rejected and replaced with subjective feelings on any given subject. What was once considered right and good is now thought to be phobic and oppressive. What was once considered to be immoral is now celebrated in our culture at most every level. (Isaiah 55) The complete makeover of our society is almost here. How can we hold to the truth of God’s Word?
First, we must trust in God to help us meet the challenges. It will not always be easy and simple. God will bring us through and strengthen us in those times when our beliefs are tested. We can trust in Him!
Also, we must realize that we are not alone. God is always with us. And other Christians down through the centuries have faced the same challenges in their day. The Lord brought them through and He will bring us through victoriously in His time.
Finally, we must abide in God’s constant, immutable Word. He doesn’t change and His Word is eternal. Culture may evolve for the worse, but, the Scriptures remain our constant, never-ending guide. Read the Bible every day. Immerse yourself in its truths, principles, and precepts. The Word of God will never steer you wrong.
Challenges to our faith are consistent in our time. Don’t give up, dear Christian. You will make it through the difficulties and you will overcome through the blood of Jesus. You may lose some battles. But the war is already won. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Christians love the concept of grace. We sing about it, preach about it, and proclaim it regularly. Grace will always be beautiful to God’s people.
How would we define grace? There are many ways to accomplish that task. One of the best ways to think about grace is this—grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Jesus paid the debt so that we could free. Jesus bore our sin upon the cross so that we may receive His righteousness. Christ endured the horrors of God’s judgement so that we might be gifted the glory of Heaven. This definition is succinct and accurate and seems to encompass what is meant by the word grace.
How should God’s people respond to all this? Christians respond through worship, praise, and thanksgiving. We give thanks for the grace of our Lord which saves, secures, and leads us to our eternal home with Christ. And of this we can be sure—there is no other word for grace but amazing!
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
*Be willing to obey no matter the cost.
Daniel 3 contains one of the most famous stories in all of Scripture. Daniels friends refused to bow down and worship the King’s idol. After this, the three Hebrew children were cast into a furnace so hot that it cost the lives of those who executed the sentence. We know how the story turns out and we know that God saved them and they were miraculously delivered.
We need to keep something in mind as we read this account. We know the end of the story. But, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had no idea how things would end. They knew that God was able to save them. However, they also knew that obedience to God might cost them their lives. They didn’t have the hindsight we have today. Yet, they obeyed the Word of God.
They were willing to obey God’s prohibition against idolatry no matter what it cost them. We, as Christians, need to have the same resolve to follow the Holy Scriptures in our lives. When cast into the moment of decision, let us choose to obey the Lord. Charles Stanley always says “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” Our resolve should be that strong!
No one can promise us the same deliverance that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego received for their obedience. We know that God is more than able to rescue us. Are we willing to say “even if God doesn’t perform a miracle on my behalf, I will still obey Him?” Are we willing to obey no matter the cost?
But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.
**We can always count on God’s Presence and Power.
As we seek to thrive in a strange land, we can always rely on God. Our lives will not be perfect. Yet, His promises are constant in the midst of life’s struggles.
Daniel’s friends were cast into the fire for refusing to commit idolatry. However, they were not alone. The fourth man was with them in presence and in power. Most Bible scholars believe the fourth man was the Lord Jesus in His pre-incarnate form. God was indeed with them even in the worst hours of their lives.
We can count on the Lord as well. He will be with us each step of the way. The Holy Spirit lives in us and will be with us forever. We don’t know what we might face in the days ahead. We do know we will not face them alone. Jesus said He will be with us to the end. (Matthew 28:20) And we can trust Him to keep His promises.
Let us give thanks today for God’s promises. On this day He has given us, may we be joyful in God’s presence. And may we rely upon God’s power to face the future.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
The above verses speak of the power and greatness of Christ. The “Him” in verse 9 obviously refers to Jesus. Three aspects of these 2 verses shall make up the content of the Bible Study this week. We pray that you are blessed as you study the Bible each week.
Verse 9 is a powerful declaration of the deity of Christ. He is the second person of the trinity and all of the fullness of God dwells in Him. Jesus came to this earth to reveal the Father to lost humanity and to save them by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 17:14) Christ is one with the Father and the Spirit. Jesus is God!
We also learn that Christians are complete in Christ. Jesus has saved us, transformed us, and justified us. Because of these things, Christ will lead us, guide us, and glorify us in Heaven one day. The Savior meets our ultimate need of forgiveness and restoration to God. Being complete in Christ does not mean that life will be perfect or that we will always get what we desire. Being in Christ does mean that we have everything we need to live for Jesus and that He will bring us safely home.
Finally, God’s people understand from verse 10 that Jesus is the head of everything. He creates, sustains, and controls this universe. (Colossians 1:10-20) And the Savior who rules in our hearts will one day visibly rule the entirety of everything. (Revelation 2:27)
This passage of Scripture is a source of great comfort and joy to the Christian. Let us rest in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is above all and every eye will see that one day. (Revelation 1:7) Child of God, you can trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. “Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:28-30
*God uses trials to prepare us for greater service.
After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were saved from the fire, God used them in a greater way. They prospered after their trials and were moved to greater places of service and usability. God used the trials to prepare them for greater service and ministry.
God does the same with us. Our trials are preparation time for greater service in the Kingdom of God. Trials are difficult and painful. Yet, they seem to be one of God’s main methods of preparing us for future service.
How do our difficulties prepare us for greater service?
**We learn to rely upon God and not ourselves. When He’s all we can rely on, we find that Jesus is sufficient. His peace and presence carry us through the trials of life.
**We learn that trials are always temporary. That truth may not shine through when we are walking through our darkest valleys. We do see that truth more clearly once the crisis is over. Then, we are more prepared to help and comfort others as they walk through their trials and tribulations.
**We grow in our faith and trust in Jesus. Each problematic circumstance we face can cause us to trust Christ all the more. We must make the choice to grow in faith. We can either become better or bitter as we go through hard times. When we choose to trust in Christ, He challenges and expands our faith. You will never go wrong when you trust Christ day by day.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
**God knows the future.
The book of Daniel is a prophetic writing. As such, the writer (inspired by the Spirit of God), predicts and prophesies future events. Daniel’s message contains many prophecies.
Some were fulfilled in his lifetime and others came to pass long after Daniel faded from the scene.
Daniel could write and speak with confidence about the future. The reason? Daniel knew that God could see the future. God knew of events that were going to take place long before they ever appeared to human beings. The God that we serve knows the future. Daniel could write with absolute assurance because the message he received was from the God who knows all and sees all.
This principle ought to give us a great comfort. God sees everything we face before we see it. He knows, He cares, and He gives us strength for our time of need.
We can have assurance that God knows our future and He loves us no matter what you and I endure in our time on this planet. God sees and knows our future. And He has a plan to bring us through and to lead us safely home. What a mighty God we serve!
The love that God has for His people is amazing. The love of our Lord is beyond any love that people can hope for or imagine. Let us examine three modifiers that describe the love of God today.
God loves because it is in His character and person to love. John teaches Christians that God is love in 1 John 4:4. The Lord’s love is based on His unchanging, unfailing character. The Love He has is great and marvelous.
The greatest expression of God’s love is found when Jesus suffers and dies upon the cross.
In Romans 5:8, Paul tells us But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.The Savior gave His life for us out of His great love for lost men and women. And no greater love can be known than the sacrificial love of Christ upon the cross. (John 15:13)
Christians can trust in God’s unyielding love for a very important reason—God has promised His love through the New Covenant of faith. Believers are adopted into the family of God forever through the saving power of Jesus blood. (Galatians 4:5) Ultimately, nothing can separate the Christian from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:37-39) Our God is a covenant keeping God of love. Praise to His glorious name.
Be blessed my friends. God loves you!
“Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
**God gives people time to repent.
God’s future judgment on Nebuchadnezzar is prophesied at the beginning of Chapter 4 in Daniel’s prophesy. He would be live as an animal for a season because of his pride and arrogance. You can read the entire chapter for further details. God reveals His planned discipline of the potentate well in advance.
Yet, God was still gracious to the King. While the judgement was announced early on, it would not take hold until a year after it was given. Verse 29 reveals this fact. God was gracious to Nebuchadnezzar and allowed him time to repent. The King refused and God’s judgment fell as promised.
This episode reveals an important principle of how God works in our lives. He gives people time and space to repent. The Lord warns us of our need to correct and then gives us time to hear the message and turn from our sins. Peter tells us The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) God is longsuffering toward us that we would believe.
To be sure, judgement will be administered on the prideful, the arrogant, and obstinate. Those who refuse to believe shall never have everlasting life (John 3:17). But God is so loving, so kind, and so gracious. He desires that all would hear the message and receive His Son as their Savior and Lord.
God is not arbitrary or capricious. He is patient and kind. Trust Him as your Savior today! He is giving you time to believe so don’t waste this opportunity. Turn from your sin, ask Christ to forgive you, and trust Jesus for your salvation.