Sunday, August 20, 2023

He Will Deliver Us

By Clifton Angel
    About 2,600 years ago, God gave idolatrous Judah into the hands of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar made special servants of the young men of Judah who fit his criteria. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (more commonly known by their catchy Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego). In the account of Daniel 3, we learn where King Nebuchadnezzar erects an image of gold and decrees that all must worship the it (1–7). The Babylonians complained to the king how that certain Jews—Hananiah, Mishael, & Azariah—were not bowing to the statue (8–12). The king threatened them with the fiery furnace (13–15). Their response to the king was: “ If 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. But 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” (16–18). So, the king threw them into the furnace, which was so hot it killed the king’s servants who were charged with the task (19–23). Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the furnace, and none of them were consumed (24–27); therefore, Nebuchadnezzar changed his attitude toward God and the three Hebrew servants (28–30).
    Numerous modern lessons can be learned from this tremendous and miraculous occasion. Some likely worshipped the image of gold because they truly love the golden image, or because they wanted please others, or they feared persecution. Some love money and make it their idol today, because they truly love money and believe it is what brings them happiness (1 Timothy 6:6–12), and some do so because they love to have the glory of men (John 12:43), and some do so for fear of persecution and ridicule (1 Peter 4:16; Matthew 5:10). There were also those who refused to bow to the golden image. Some worship the God of Heaven today because “He will deliver us.” How many will worship the God of Heaven even if He doesn’t deliver us? (Matthew 16:24–25). Finally, there is a lesson in the strength we obtain from suffering (1 Peter 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:5–9; James 1:2ff). While our faithfulness to God may cause us to pass through the fire on earth, our opponents will eventually be put to shame. It might even be the case that how we respond to suffering and persecution changes their attitude toward us and the God of Heaven—like Nebuchadnezzar with the Hebrew youths.
    Truly, He will deliver us.

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

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