Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day Twelve Monday July 12th, 2010

Day Twelve
Monday July 12th, 2010

If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.

-Daniel 3:17-18

If you are unclear of this story, Wanda, let me summarize what has happened until this point:
The land of Israel has already divided into two kingdoms. The Northern kingdom, Israel, was carried away by Assyria a long time ago. The southern kingdom, Judah, watched it happen, but did not repent of the same sins, so they were overcome and taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. King Nebbie (as I like to call him) took the best and the brightest youth of the kingdom and had them serve in his court. (He made them Eunuchs, but that’s not important to the story.) Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These four would not eat from the kings tables because the food the king ate (probably sacrificed to idols and included unclean food such as pork and shellfish) was not allowed in the Law of Moses. Instead, they asked for just vegetables and water and became stronger and smarter than those who ate well. (It is a strong argument for becoming a vegetarian, but Jesus told Peter to Rise, kill, and eat in Acts 10 and I’m claiming that one for Meataterians.) King Nebbie had a dream about a statues made of many different metals and Daniel told him what it meant. King Nebbie, however, didn’t like the interpretation and made himself a statue of gold, from the head down to the feet in an act of defiance against God. (I don’t recommend defying God, He’s going to spank you.) He commanded that everyone bow down and worship the statue when they hear music, but Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) would not. I don’t know what Daniel was doing. It doesn’t seem like him to bow down to the statue, but he isn’t mentioned as resisting like these three. It has been suggested that he was out of town at this time on the King’s business. He was in charge of a lot after King Nebbie discovered that he was wise enough to interpret dreams. (Although Daniel says that the dream and interpretation comes from God, most worldly people disregard statements like that as foolish Christian talk… or in Daniel’s case, foolish Israelite talk.) So these three will not bow down and face the punishment; to be thrown into a fiery furnace. The King gives them another chance, and the scripture above is their reply.
I love this scripture because although they believe that God can save, they are also okay if He doesn’t. If they die in the furnace, they know that they will go to Abraham’s Bosom. (At that time, before Jesus died on the cross, people who died believing that He would come and die went to a place called Abraham’s Bosom where they waited until Jesus goes and brings them to Heaven. It’s kind of a VIP waiting room for the faithful. Luke 16) Do we have that kind of faith? Can we say that we know God can save, but even if He chooses not to, we’re still going to do what we know is right. That means that we value truth and good more than our very lives.
Now also notice in the book of Daniel as to how the four resisted King Nebbie. They always respected him and told him that they must follow God, and each time, they expected the punishment or for God to save them. Like Jesus in the wilderness, they weren’t going to use their own cleverness to get them out of trouble. I think that if we are going to oppose the government today because we don’t like what the government is doing, we must go about the same way that these four do. They are willing to get arrested and sentenced and are trusting God with their fate. And because of that, King Nebbie always sides with them afterwards and has their enemies killed. (Most of the time, the four had enemies that tricked King Nebbie into making some strange law or other.
Romans 13:1 says to respect authorities. They have been placed their by God. I think God picks authorities to remind us what is in our hearts. Saul was the first king of Israel, but he wasn’t a good one. He did, however, represent to the people that they were imitators and cowards and selfish. I think our criticisms of our current President (whomever he is at the time of the complaint) reflect God’s criticisms of our hearts. If you got something bad to say about our President, I would first stop to think if you could be accused of the same thing. Even if only in your thoughts.
I want to be a man who stands on God’s Word, no matter what. I also think that we should follow the rules of our government. Some would say that I wasn’t a patriot because the founding fathers rebelled and started the United States. If I lived back then, I would probably have preached peace under British rule instead of fighting, since we have only our fleshly lives to spend here on earth and eternity with Jesus in Heaven. I am a patriot. I love my country and my homeland very much. The United States is nice too, and I enjoy the visit I have here, but my real home is in Heaven. Until I go, I’m going to respect the government I am under, cheer for our soldiers to do their jobs, pray for the people who make and enforce, and judge the laws of our country and try to live in peace as much as I can. The only thing I won’t compromise for that peace is the Word of God. If the Word of God becomes illegal to preach, own, possess, or read, I will do all those (probably openly) and be okay with getting arrested. I would trust in Jesus to either rescue me or take me home or lead me to continue my work from behind bars. (They can take the Written Word of God from me, but not all of it. As long as it is legal, I am hiding it, bit by bit, in my heart and they’ll have to kill me to get it, but by then, I won’t need it there anymore since I’ll be in heaven with Jesus. Okay, Wanda, so I realize that I’m making some bold statements here and it’s totally possible that I’ll chicken out, but if it happens, and I chicken out, it is your job to remind me of what I said and keep me accountable. Jesus says, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32. I don’t want to be denied by Jesus, so if you catch me denying Him, remind me please while I still have time to repent. Thanks, Wanda. I knew I could count on you.

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