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News for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sunday School Lesson � Explore the Bible
Aug. 3: Risk Everything for God
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton


Focal Passage: Daniel 3:1, 8-12, 15b-18, 24-25, 28

“Our Lord will show up! And He will take you through the fire again” is a line to a wonderful song made popular by The Crabb Family entitled “Through the Fire.” The gist of the song is that many times we don’t understand why trials and temptations come our way but through it all, and no matter the circumstance, the Lord always shows up and takes us through the fires of this life.

Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were constantly facing the fires of this life. They continued to fall in and out of the King’s favor because they sought to serve the Lord God faithfully while also serving the king’s court. Little did they know that soon a real fire would be the ultimate test of their faithfulness to God.

Daniel and his friends had just come through a dramatic situation where their lives had been threatened but where God had sustained them and even allowed them a place of more prominence in King Nebuchadnezzar’s service. In Daniel chapter two the king had a dream that no one could interpret. It had stumped his most trusted astrologers, mediums, and priests but God allowed Daniel to see the dream and interpret it for the king. Because of this Daniel and his friends’ lives were spared. Daniel requested that the king appoint Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as managers of the province of Babylon and the king agreed to the request of Daniel and made the appointment (see chapter 2:49).

As a result of Daniel’s interpretation of the dream the king decided to erect a giant statue of himself 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. The king ordered that everyone should bow down to the statue and worship when the music played or face death in a furnace of fire. This was a point of decision for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In this life we are confronted with these points of decision concerning our faith each and every day. Can you imagine how they must have felt? The music played and everyone around them, even their own Jewish people, bowed down to this idol of an earthly king. But they had decided, as we discovered earlier in our study of Daniel, that they would not compromise their faith even in the fear of a fiery death.

Though they had decided not to bow to an earthly idol King Nebuchadnezzar decided to offer a reprieve to the young men and give them another chance to comply to his wishes. How tempting it must have been to give in to this opportunity. Many times similar circumstances come our way. We are able to stand firm the first time, but then the trial or temptation comes enticing us once again to bow down. This is the point where we, like these three men, must resist giving in to the temptation. Remember what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 12:10? “So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (HCSB). Because of Christ our weakness and reliance on Him in these difficult times becomes our strength.

These young men did not falter in this extreme test of faith but found the very presence and power of God in the midst of the flames. King Nebuchadnezzar was shocked that there were four persons in the fire and ultimately praised God (v. 28). Whenever we stand and risk everything for God we will find him there in the midst of the fire and He will receive the glory, honor, and praise that He so rightfully deserves.

— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.

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