Guest Post – I Am Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Today’s guest post, I Am Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

That’s a lot of people inside my head but don’t worry because the title is a little misleading. A more accurate title for this post would be, I Wish I Was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. For those not familiar with my “I Am _____” series, this is usually the part where I add the disclaimer about me knowing that my name is really Dave followed by something that eludes to the fact that while I may be Dave I am still  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or whomever the title suggests I might be. This time is different. This time I can only wish I was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

I am Peter more than I am Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

If you know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you know that they were faced with certain death if they did not bow to the gods of the land. Their willingness to go against the king even if it meant death is already a character trait that makes me says, “I wish I was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” I would like to think I would be willing to give up my life in this way but when faced with death I am more likely to be the Peter at Jesus’ trial than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

There is a certainty in what they said that I wish was part of my faith.

It isn’t just that they were willing to die, that makes me want to be Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It isn’t just that they went against the king’s order even though they were threatened with death. I wish I was like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because of what they said.  “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. Daniel 3:16-17 (NIV)

This is what the comic books call a crossover.

Their strong faith that God not only could but that God would do the miraculous is what is often missing from my prayers and public declarations. The promise that the Holy S***** (a bad word in many people’s churches) would clothe us with power, the promise that signs and wonders would follow those who believe and the promise that we can ask in Jesus’ name and receive is all but gone from my faith walk. As I have said before, it could be based on my fear of being let down or the watered down teachings about a God who has a plan and anything I pray is irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter why I believe that God will not act, that the Holy Sp**** will not perform miraculous works that point toward the creator of the universe, all that matters is that I am unable to speak with the same boldness that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did.

I know there is more.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego continued, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:18 (NIV) It is so easy to use this last part to support my often watered down doctrines. I can cling to the idea that God most likely won’t step in when I pray. I can say this story was a rare display of God’s power and that even they knew that it most likely wouldn’t happen even though it did. This becomes an excuse to weaken my prayers and my faith that God will act.

They were convinced that God would save them.

I was not there and I am not Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego but I do believe that the final statement they made, “But even if he does not…” was not them hedging their bets. I do not believe that they were laying out their beliefs with an exit strategy just in case God did not act. I will go out on a limb, take a chance that great biblical scholars will correct me. I will add my interpretation to this part of scripture fully aware that I may have it wrong.

Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego added the line “But even if he does not…” to show that their faith was not based on the fact that God would save them but rather their faith was placed in God no matter what, not a god but The God.

Holy Spi*** is power for those who believe.

The Holy Spir** promised by God, God’s Spiri*, has the same power to do the miraculous that was exhibited when the three did not die in the fiery furnace. The prayers we pray have power and the answers God gives are perfection in the same way. We can count on the Holy Spirit being treated as a bad word and the belief that God still performs miracles through that same Spirit being ignored because it is easier to not take the chance that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did and say God will act.

I believe, the God we serve is able to deliver, and He will deliver us. Even if He doesn’t, I still believe because He is God.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Walking Through the Fire

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a recent study in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, I discovered something new in a story I remember learning as a child.

When I first learned the story, my Sunday School teacher used flannel graph figures to flannel boardrepresent the characters of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

How many of you remember flannel graph? I loved those colorful paper figures with scratchy lines of something on the back that miraculously attached to a piece of cardboard wrapped in flannel. Simply amazing!

In my flannel graph days, the furnace of the story in Daniel Chapter 3 that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into for refusing to bow to the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, was like a huge oven with a door that latched on the outside. From that picture, in my mind, the only way the three Hebrew men could leave the fiery furnace they’d been thrown in was to have the door opened from the outside.

Through the years, I’ve come to understand the furnace of the Babylonians may have been like a huge ziggurat with sloping walkways leading into the fire, or like a very large clay oven with an open front. Either way, these descriptions seem to indicate there was a way of exit, if those inside them could indeed exit.

So back to my preparation for leading the lesson…

In Daniel 3:25, King Nebuchadnezzar looks into the furnace, and instead of seeing three dead Hebrews, he notices four men walking around, untied.

The commentary I read in preparation for this lesson mentioned something I’d never thought of which I’d like to share with you, in case, like me, your vision of the furnace was one the men had no way out of on their own.

Which actually was the truth, no matter how the oven was configured.

The commentator asked, why were the men walking around, and not trying to leave the furnace?

The answer?

“Since God rendered the furnace of no consequence, why not stay in the flames and fellowship with the fourth man?”

Wow.

Why not stay in the flames and fellowship with the Fourth Man?

How many times have we felt like we’ve been tossed in the fiery furnace believing there was no way out? During those times are we ever content to simply walk around our furnace with the Fourth Man, Jesus, knowing God’s got it all under control?

If you’re like me maybe your answer would be, not often enough.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith came first. They believed God could deliver them, whether he would or not. They left their fate in God’s hands. Their praise and devotion came before deliverance.

The presence of the Fourth Man was in response to their faith. Not the other way around.

Because of our faith, God will never leave or forsake us.

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Nebuchadnezzar: Then why do I see four men, completely unbound, walking around in the middle of the fire? They don’t appear to be hurt at all. And the fourth . . . he appears to be like a son of the gods. Daniel 3:25 (Voice)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Still I Will Praise You

One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions November 5, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.

The other day, I was thinking about the word, Hallelujah. I’ve read it in the Bible. I’ve sung it in songs. I’ve heard people shout it for various reasons. I’ve listened to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. Wanting to be certain I understood the meaning of the word, I looked it up. Basically, hallelujah is used to express praise, joy, or thanks to God. It’s an exclamation of praise to our Creator. Yep. That’s what I thought. Praise, joy, and thanks.

Does that mean we praise God when things aren’t going well? When we have losses? Set-backs? Devastation? I think so. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In good times, and bad. He deserves our praise. All the time.

When life hits me upside the head, I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whose story is told in the Old Testament book of Daniel. These three Hebrews were thrown into a furnace that was so hot, the soldiers who threw them in were killed. Before they were tossed into the fire, they told Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar they weren’t afraid. They knew God was able to deliver them. Whether he did, or not was up to God. (Daniel 3:14-30)

Here’s what I cling to from this story…God can, but if he chooses not to, still I will praise him. Why? Because he is God, and I am not. He is sovereign. He is in control. Only he is worthy to be praised. Hallelujah.

Feel like you’ve been tossed into the fiery furnace? Look around. God’s still with you. No matter what.

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Then a voice came from the throne, saying:  “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:  “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.” Revelation 19:5-6

I wish you well.

Sandy

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