Day 18 Sacred Season

Day 18 Sacred Season

DAY 18.   26th June  God with us in fire  Daniel 3:16-29 :  Isaiah 43:1-2  Bella Hibbard, New South Wales

 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods  (Daniel 3:25 NIV)

 Basis of Union:  Paragraph 11:  The Uniting Church thanks God for the continuing witness and service of evangelist, of scholar, of prophet and of martyr. It prays that it may be ready when occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds.

 The young men stood before the king with the eyes of the crowd upon them. On one side, the grotesque statue towered over them. On the other side, a blazing furnace was being fed. They looked directly at the king, who awaited the answer to his question. With confidence that transcended the danger of the situation, they refused to bow down to the statue and affirmed once again their sole allegiance to the Lord. After their words had been spoken, the furnace was heated seven times hotter than it had been. Even as they stood, they could feel the heat of the flames warming their bodies.

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were confronted with a challenge to their faith. They were expected to bow down in worship to an idol, with the threat of execution of they did not. Still, the three young men remained steadfast in their faith and refused to compromise. They knew that God was powerful enough to save them but, living through the exile, they would have seen the reality of suffering for God’s people. They counted the possibility that God might not deliver them in this instance. The certainty of rescue, then, wasn’t the basis of them standing up to the king; that came from a determination to remain faithful and obedient to God, even if it cost them their lives.

 Some have suggested that Daniel 3 is merely a midrash, a sermon illustration of sorts, of Isaiah 43:1-2. I believe, however, that it is a historical account of something that really happened. Still, the words of Isaiah may have been in their minds as the young men were led to the furnace. In Isaiah, God promises to be with his people as they pass through the waters; that when they walk through the fire, they will not be burned. This doesn’t promise we’ll be spared the waters or the fire, but promises protection through them. The three young men were thrown into the furnace but it was there in the midst of the fire that they were joined by another, one who looked like ‘a son of the gods’. It is as we stand for God, even in the midst of our trials and difficulties, that God promises to be with us.

 Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help us to stand steadfast through times of discouragement, opposition, even persecution.  Strengthen us to not compromise like Shadrach, Meshach and Abnedgo. Thank you as we stand for you in the midst of our trials and difficulties, you promise to be with us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

 

 Pray for:  a) Unitingworld partner – The United Church in Solomon Islands

b) Assembly historical  reference committee