Be a Daniel (Through the Fire)
This week we will be continuing our series of study in the book of Daniel. We will learn of the faith of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, otherwise known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They stood firm in their faith in The GOD of Heaven when faced with fire and we like them, can stand firm in our faith when facing fiery trials which are to try us. I pray this lesson is as much a blessing to you as it was to me when I learned it. I love you all and I am praying for you. Please continue to pray for me.
Handout: Be a Daniel (Through the Fire) Part 4
Last week we began our study in Daniel chapter 3. We learned that King Nebuchadnezzar built a monument to himself. It was an image of gold that was ninety feet high and nine feet wide and he told everyone if they did not bow down and worship this image that they would be thrown into the midst of a fiery furnace. We learned that just as King Nebuchadnezzar was an image builder trying to make himself appear as a god, we today can fall into a trap of being insincere or just plain self-centered and trying to build up our own images so that we appear grander than what we are in order to receive praise from others. This is pride and GODS word tells us in Proverbs 16 tells us that Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. We are to be genuine and to build our image to that of the image of JESUS CHRIST our perfect example. We also learned that just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped up in faith, so should we step up on faith and trust GOD and allow HIM to do the work through us that HE wants to do instead of depending upon others to do that work for us. Last lesson we stopped in Daniel chapter 3 just as some of Chaldeans had told the king that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to his image. Let's read on and see what The Holy Spirit will teach us as we continue. Now what has happened is some of the Chaldeans have seen that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have not bowed down, so they have gone to tell King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 3:12-18 " There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 13Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
It's interesting in verse 15 that King Nebuchadnezzar gave them another chance to bow down to his false god. Still, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said NO! This reminds me of a Pastor in Iran named Youcef Nadarkhani who was arrested several years ago for being a Christian. He had been given three chances to deny his faith otherwise they sentenced him to death. Pastor Youcef stood firm in his faith. Not only him but there are many of you who are standing firm in your faith in a land with laws that tell you that you will die if you proclaim JESUS CHRIST as The SON OF GOD and as your LORD and SAVIOR! I pray for Pastor Youcef and I pray for you all, and I urge all of you to join with me in prayer for these precious ones if you are not praying already. If you are going through a fiery trial where your life is at risk, please read this and be encouraged that The LORD is with you, and will NEVER leave or forsake you. HE IS FAITHFUL!!!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said O King GOD is able to deliver us, but if HE does not, know this, that we will not bow down and serve your gods and we will ONLY worship The ONE True GOD! That was spiritual growth right there. They were facing fire, possibly could feel its heat and smell the smoke. It's one thing to say you will take a stand and to take it, but to take a stand when you know within the hour you could die, now that is faith on a whole new level! It's the kind of faith we want!
I understand that many of you around the world, do serve GOD at the risk of your own lives, but there are a lot of us too who do not have to fear our lives being taken, we do not have to fear being thrown into a fiery furnace, but we do still go through fiery trials.
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
So what kinds of "fires" do Christians face? It can be fires of many kinds. Could be the death of a loved one, could be chronic pain to which there seems no end. Many face cancer. That is always a scary thing to have to deal with. So what do we do in the face of these fiery trials? There are many scenarios and as I was doing this study I listened to some teaching that a wonderful teacher Beth Moore taught. I was blessed very much.
There are three scenarios we will look at and we will use the example of someone who has discovered a mass of some sort, and we will use this example because there are so many that I know who are facing cancer right now. So this mass has been discovered and the doctor says that most of the time, this sort of mass is almost always malignant. So we would begin to pray for complete and utmost healing in this case. We would desire and pray for Scenario A which is this:
Scenario A: Deliverance From The Fire.
In facing this scenario, we would most likely gather our family and church together and all pray for complete divine healing from the LORD. We would believe HIM for that healing and ask that this cancer be removed by HIS power.
Now GOD performs miracles all the time. He can do this, we know that HE can. There's no doubt in our minds. Then if HE chose to deliver us from this fiery trail then in going back to the doctor he/she would say, I'm amazed that this mass is not malignant you are fine, or perhaps be shocked and say, where did the mass go? It's gone! That would be an amazing miracle and one that we would want and pray for. Now the faith Dividend of Scenario A would be:
Faith Dividend of Scenario A: Our faith is built.
For that time our faith would get an amazing boost and growth seeing how GOD moved and healed for HIS glory! How joyful it is when HE does this. In cases like this we have to be very careful because as years go by, the devil can try to get in our minds and make us wonder if it was really GOD or just coincidence. He is evil. We know that all good things come from GOD above!
As I stated before, God does perform miracles and HE certainly does heal, but sometimes He does not. What then? That question brings us to the next Scenario, Scenario B.
Scenario B: Deliverance Through The Fire.
So if GOD chose not to heal this cancer, then one would have to come to the acceptance that ok, the cancer is there, now I am going to pray and ask GOD to deliver me through this fire, because I can't do it alone. So we would gather our prayer partners together and pray for God to help us and give us strength to get through this time, and to give the doctors wisdom and to help us know what treatments to take and exactly how to take care of this cancer. This would be the kind of sickness spoken of in John 11.
John 11:4 "When JESUS heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of GOD , that the SON OF GOD might be glorified thereby."
He is going to bring you through it for His glory! That GOD would be glorified and magnified as HE so deserves. What would be the faith dividend of this Scenario?
Faith Dividend of Scenario B: Our Faith Is Refined.
1 Peter 1:6-7 "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of JESUS CHRIST."
Gold when placed into fire, is not burned up, but is made much more pure and it is the same but much more so with our faith. It is necessary many times for us to endure a fiery trial so that our faith is proved sincere. That fire burns some of the sinful nature out of us! It is where the rubber meets the road, are we real in our faith or are we just playing church. Enduring in faith through a fiery trial such as this would prove whether or not we are genuine. Praise The LORD, Our GOD wants people to choose to love HIM! He wants faithful sons and daughters. HE will be there every step of the way showing great mercy, provision, and grace through it all! We KNOW HE is faithful…we should be faithful back!
Now this scenario is hard to endure but in the end we would shout and sing, "Through It All I've Learned to Trust In JESUS." Knowing HE brought us through that fiery trial and our faith has been refined. However, what if we were to endure the last scenario? Scenario C, which is:
Scenario C: Delivered BY The Fire, Face To Face With JESUS!
This is the one that ends in death of this body. This is the one that we all do not want to face. The fact that we do not want this scenario just proves the fact that we are human, but also that we don't really comprehend what is waiting for us on the other side! No… we do not want to leave our family and friends, but if we really knew what GOD has in store for those that love HIM, this scenario would be the one that we would desire most!
The very reason we long so much to stay here is because it is familiar to us and it is our human lack of understanding that to live is Christ to die is gain! Death to this body is not like waking up, it's like being really awake for the first time. It's beginning to live. It's dropping this sinful prison and stepping to our Home with JESUS, where colors and sounds are more vivid and beautiful than we have ever experienced before. Where there is no more pain and no more death. Just peace and love all the time, and most of all there is JESUS, the one who suffered and died for us and then forgave and redeemed us from our sins. Praise HIS HOLY NAME! Where eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which GOD hath prepared for them that love HIM.? (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Yes, I write again, if we really understood this would be the one that we would long for…to go HOME with JESUS!
Faith Dividend of Scenario C: Our Faith Is Perfected.
Having written those truths, still being in this human flesh, with human feelings and understanding, this one can be the hardest scenario to accept for ourselves and for our loved ones. However if you are facing this yourself or a loved one, know that JESUS CHRIST understands!
Hebrews 12:1-2 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto JESUS The Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before HIM endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of GOD."
The last trial for JESUS to go through was one that was more suffering than anyone has ever or will ever face. He dreaded that pain, and He asked that this cup be passed from HIM, yet HE prayed for HIS FATHER'S will and HE endured the cross for our sins. He is no friend of death. Remember when Lazarus died and Jesus wept? (John 11:35) HE did not weep because Lazarus was dead, HE was the resurrection. HE wept because of the pain that HIS friends were enduring because of the death of their brother. HE felt their pain. He understands, but Beloved we have to get HOME some way, and until HE comes back and takes us out of here, death of this body is our transportation Home to where our faith is perfected and turns into sight Praise the LORD. What a day that will be!
Now we will keep reading and see that GOD did indeed deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire, but history tells us of other Christians who burned to death for the cause of Christ. We know that GOD delivered Daniel from the den of lions which we will be studying later on, but there have been others who died at the mouths of lions for the cause of Christ. There have been some who have just died peacefully in their sleep but others seem to suffer terribly in pain before they go. Being saved and right with GOD does not exempt us from trials and suffering. Job 14 tells us that man that is born of woman is of few days and FULL of trouble.
Now why does GOD allow some to endure much suffering before death? I wondered this myself as I watched my mom suffer the years and especially the few weeks before she went Home to be with HIM. I wasn't bitter at GOD and I know HE ALWAYS does what is best, but I didn't understand why she had to suffer so and you may be wondering the same thing of yourself or a loved one and today I would say to you, perhaps for GOD'S glory and perhaps rewards are at stake.
Perhaps, much suffering is required so that HE can increase the reward that HE can bless us with when we do make it Home! Think about that for a moment and it is precious when it sinks into your heart.
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which The LORD hath promised to them that love Him."
Child of GOD, suffering down here is so hard, and no one wants to suffer, but think of the reward if we will endure and trust that GOD knows what is best. A reward that last forever for the endurance of suffering here for a little while!
Understand that suffering and death are not always cases where GOD is angry, perhaps it's a means to reward you for enduring in faith, for being genuine through the hard times.
Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of The LORD, is the death of HIS saints."
When I was a little girl, I would hear that verse in Psalms and I would think, why in the world would someone dying be precious? Why would GOD want someone to die? Now as I am older I understand that it's precious to HIM because HE gets to bring us Home to live with HIM forever!
Dear One, if you are facing a fiery trial that is to end in the death of your body, know, that HE must be so excited to see you. HE must be anticipating the time HE gets to bring you Home and pull you in HIS arms and see you face to face, for you to see HIM at last! How marvelous HE is and so very, very Lovely!
Oh how I grieved for my mom so long when she went Home 6 months ago, but then GOD showed me, how precious it was to HIM to bring her home. How beautiful it was for HIM to give her grace in her suffering and dying grace and to give her a crown of life. How HE longed to put HIS arms around her but He knew we needed her here, and finally the time came when HE couldn't bear for her to be away from Home any longer and so He brought her to HIMSELF face to face! How I love and miss her, but how I rejoice that she is Home with HIM, never to suffer again! You can know the same about yourself or your loved one! Faith perfected…Praise The LORD! HE IS SO GOOD AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER! HE IS WORTHY!
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father…
Thank You that this life isn't all there is, that one day we get to come Home to You forever! I can't hardly wait for that day. I'm so excited to see You LORD. Thank You for taking our loved ones Home, never to suffer again. Thank You for all the things that You have in store for us even though we can't comprehend it now. Thank You for all You have done, continue to do, and what You are going to do. Thank You for being faithful and for giving us grace for the things we must face. You are good and we can trust it forever. Your grace and mercy is never ending. Thank You for being in the fire with us and for loving us even though we don't deserve it. We love you and Praise You forever. In the name of JESUS we pray. Amen.