Sunday, June 16, 2019

Daniel 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Daniel 3. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • King Nebuchadnezzar creates an image (statue) of gold and demands everyone to worship it.
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (pretty fun to say out loud, try it!) believe in God and refuse to give their worship to anyone or anything else. When they refuse, the King orders that they be burned to death in a large industrial furnace. 
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are given another chance to worship the idol but refuse. They tell the King that they know God is able to save them, even from the inferno of a burning furnace. They say "But even if he does not" they will still not give their worship to anything else.
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fire where they are (miraculously) joined by either an angel or (many theologians believe) Jesus.
  • They are not burned and Nebuchadnezzar is so amazed that he turns his faith to God and promotes Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We are all tempted to worship things other than God. To worship is to view something as valuable, to love and be devoted to something. If there is anything we treat as more valuable than God, that we love and are devoted to more than God, we are worshiping that thing. One way to know you are worshiping something over God is if you won't do what God says with it. For instance:
    • God says to give 10% of our money to Him. If we won't, we are valuing money more than Him.
    • God tells us to not have sex with anyone we're not married too. If we do, we are valuing sex more than God.
    • God tells us not to lie to or gossip about other people. If we do, we are valuing their approval or our image more than God.
  • God tells us that we are not to worship anything but Him (see Exodus 20:3-6 and Matthew 6:33). That's because (1) He deserves our worship, (2) because nothing else is worthy of or can handle, and (3) because our lives will get all messed up if we put anything other than God first in our lives.
  • When we face difficult situations or when we are pressured by others to do something that violates our faith in God or the character He's called us to live with, we need to be faithful to Him and trust that He will get us through it. But "even if He does not" God is still worthy of all our worship. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that was true, and we have an advantage over them. Jesus has come for us and died for us. God did the worst thing to Himself because it was the thing we needed most; He saved us from our sin. We can trust that He would do anything for us.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • What are you tempted to put above God? Where are you pressured to not be faithful to or to sin against God?
    • Will you take a stand like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did, putting God first, no matter what?
    • Will you trust God and be faithful, even if things don't go the way you want them to?
    • Who can you get to support you?