Giants, Lions, and the Fiery Furnace

  • David fought Goliath, and won.
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, and were not harmed.
  • Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, and survived.

How does that correlate to us today?

1Samuel 17: 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
  • We all have giants.  They seem impossible to beat.  And they are–apart from God.  But when we stop focusing on ourselves and focus on God alone, He will deliver us.  He will defeat the giants.  All we have to do is submit and surrender to Him.  *all* we have to do.  But that three letter word is the hardest word in the book when it comes down to that moment when you have to do it.

Daniel 3:  24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
  • If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had bowed to the golden image king Nebuchadnezzar had made, he would not have witnessed the power of God saving them from the furnace.  It took the power of God through this one courageous act (times three young men) to change King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart.  (There’s something to be learned here about the power of community, standing together in unison against the attacks of the spiritual dark forces in the world.)

Daniel 6:
Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement[a] to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

 19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
     enduring forever;
 his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
     and his dominion shall be to the end.
 27 He delivers and rescues;
     he works signs and wonders
     in heaven and on earth,
 he who has saved Daniel
     from the power of the lions.”
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
  • We all have those around us, walking in darkness still, that are after us, after our faith, ready to catch us doing the wrong thing and ready to call us out on it.  In Daniel’s case however, they couldn’t find anything wrong with what he was doing–so they purposed to make the king sign a document stating that no one could make petition to anyone other than the king.  Then, they went and found Daniel, as expected, faithfully praying to Almighty God.  The king was hesitant, because he loved Daniel, but he’d given his word, so he ordered Daniel to be thrown into the den with the lions.  The lions would have normally ripped him to shreds–but God shut the mouths of the lions, and Daniel was still alive the next day.  The king rejoiced, and believed in God.  Then, he ordered the men that had orchestrated the whole plot thrown into the den, along with their families–they were shredded and devoured instantly.

What does that have to do with us?  Well, when we face temptation, we must keep on our knees before our God.  We must continue to pray and call out to Jesus to deliver us.  If we give into temptation and end up going down a road that dishonors God, not only will we hurt our credibility as His witnesses, but we will dishonor our Father, and those that are near and dear to us. Think of the king—he may have never believed in God, had he not witnessed Daniel’s incredible faith, even under the circumstances.  This valiant act by Daniel to remain true to God was exactly what brought the king to believe.

There are many, many people that can be hurt by one single act of unrighteousness.  There is always a ripple effect.  In today’s society, sometimes it doesn’t even seem relevant or like anyone should care–because there is so much “tolerance” in today’s society, and in today’s church, unfortunately.  Reading the story about Daniel, one might think “just don’t pray openly–hide it.  Don’t let yourself be caught, Daniel, for heaven’s sake!”

But really?  And for heaven’s sake?! I think not!

I only pray that if ever faced with that decision, I would never bow to the enemy of my soul.  I would never give into temptation to deny my Lord in front of those who don’t believe.  Because I don’t know at what point they might believe.  Maybe it’s after I’ve been thrown into the den of lions.  Maybe it’s after I have sacrificed my life (for the sake of them–in hopes that they would see my faith in Jesus Christ, and believe, and be saved.)  And more than likely it won’t come in the form of a physical death threat–it may, but it may just come in a condescending tone from someone who is in my sphere of influence.  It doesn’t matter the tactic or the circumstance, what matters is depending on God to give me the words in that particular moment, as He promises He will.  But I have to live in submission and surrender to Him in order for Him to do that.

Regardless of if they do come to know Him, or if they don’t, my life eternal is found in Jesus Christ and the kingdom of heaven.  My life is lived for Him alone.  Why would I want to forfeit that by denying my God to those that don’t know him, and are still walking in darkness?

Isn’t it those walking in darkness that I am trying to reach with my witness, anyway?  Isn’t it those that are far from God to whom I am to be a witness of God?

So, when faced with temptation, with faced with our fiery trial to test our faith, or when faced with that giant of a problem before us–let us not lose heart.  Let us stand up and be courageous—but not in the way you would think.  You see, none of these young men were giants of their own.  They were all humble, submissive, and passionate about their God, our God, our Lord.  They had no problem humbling themselves before Him, and in that act, He lifted them out of their trouble.  He delivered them.

We aren’t supposed to fight this battle on our own.  We are called to humbly submit ourselves, our wills, our minds, our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions, our hands, our feet, our lives–to God our Father.  Is there any other person you would rather submit to, than the Lord Jesus Christ?  Let us not think too highly of ourselves and think that we are only to submit to our passions, our desires, our thoughts, and ideals–disregarding the law of God, disregarding the holiness of Christ Jesus who died for our sakes.

We stand by falling on our knees.  We are made courageous not in and of ourselves, but when we submit to the power of the Spirit within us to lead us in every situation, every temptation, every desire.  It is only then that He will be able to show His power, His glory in us–when we submit.  When we surrender.

He will not force us to take a back seat to Him, and forcefully take control of our bodies, our minds, our thoughts, our attitudes and actions.  He will not.  Because He gave us free will to do what we want to do.  It is our choice to submit.  It is our choice to surrender.  So let us not lose focus–let us not start thinking more highly of ourselves than we think of God our Father and Christ our Lord.  Let us humbly submit to the Spirit and ask Him for help to walk in the way of righteousness.

We never know who is watching.  Who is the next one to be saved, by watching our great faith—faith that is a gift from God.  Faith that does not come solely from us, but is granted to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let Him shine–not us!

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