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Testing CommitmentTesting Commitment
by Ron Rose

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    After Daniel successfully interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Nebuchadnezzar gave him a high position in the country. At Daniel’s request, Nebuchadnezzar also appointed Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as leaders over Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,... if you bow down and worsbip tbe statue I made, that will be good. But if you do not worship it, you will immediately be thrown into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to save you from my power then?”Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, saying, ‘Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
DANIEL 3:14-18

Then King Darius wrote a letter to all people and all nations, to those who spoke every language in the world: “I am making a new law for people in every part of my kingdom. All of you must fear and respect the God of Daniel. Daniel’s God is the living God; he lives forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. God rescues and saves people and does mighty miracles in heaven and on earth. He is the one who saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
DANIEL 6:26-27
    Although Nebuchadnezzar had seen the power and greatness of Daniel’s God, he made a gold statue ninety feet high and commanded everyone under his authority to bow down and worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused. The king was so angry at their disobedience that he commanded they be thrown into a blazing furnace. Confident that if God wanted to save them from the fire he would, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted God’s will for their lives more than they feared the fire. God rewarded their faith and devotion by shielding them from the flames; they weren’t even scorched. The king was so astonished by the power of the Israelite God that he commanded anyone who spoke against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be killed.

    Through the years and succeeding kings of Babylon, Daniel remained an important leader and a man of faith and integrity. Three times a day he prayed to God. But a new king, Darius, instituted a law forbidding the people to pray to any god except the king, under penalty of being tossed to the lions. Daniel refused and was thrown in with the lions, but Daniel’s ever-present God shut the mouths of the lions and protected him. Like his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius issued a decree that everyone in his kingdom should respect the God of Daniel. Even in this foreign land God was at work, demonstrating his power and his faithfulness to those who trusted him.

    As he had done in the wilderness time, God used the exile as a period of preparation for his people. If the Jews would trust him and wait for him to work his plan, they would see him as a loving, forgiving, and protective Father who was eager to reveal his great plans for his children everywhere.

Reflection: Like a proud father, God loves it when we obey him, when we trust him to keep his promises, and when we put our very lives in his hands. When we choose to reflect his character — whether anyone’s looking — God is glorified in heaven and on earth.

 
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      Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

      Title: "Testing Commitment"
      Author: Ron Rose
      Publication Date: February 9, 2003


 
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