Sunday, September 14, 2008

Three Chapters, Three Miracles

September 14: Daniel 1-3

8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. . . . 14 So he [chief of the eunichs] listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food.
Daniel 1:8 & 14-15

1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. 2 Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. . . . 13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. . . . 16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. . . . 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night.
Daniel 2:1-2, 13, 16 & 19

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” . . . . 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

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.”

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 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.”
Daniel 3:16-18, 21-25 & 28-29

Three Chapters, Three Miracles

We love the Old Testament Bible stories, especially those found in Daniel 1, do we not? It would be well worth your time to read these three chapters in their entirety, as only small sketches are shown above.

Among the many Jewish citizens deported to Babylon and then chosen to serve the king due to their high intellect were Daniel and his three friends. They were to receive the best of the food available so that they would remain strong and healthy. Among the foods "required" were those forbidden by God as unclean, therefor Daniel and his friends chose to eat vegetables instead. After a trial of ten days, Daniel and his friends, chapter 1 verse 15 tells us, At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food.

In chapter 2, we find the record of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Being much disturbed by his dream, he demanded that wise men of Babylon tell him his dream and then give its interpretation. Astounded that their king would give such an unreasonable command, they refused. Daniel and his three friends were rounded up with all of the wise men to be put to death for their inability to meet Nebuchadnezzar's demand. Daniel sought an audience with the king to tell him of his dream as well as its interpretation. Verses 17 & 18 tell us,

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azaria, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

We know the rest of the story; God revealed the dream and its interpretation concerning the future kingdoms of the world to Daniel.

In Daniel 3 we have the familiar story of Daniel's three friends being thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to bow down and worship the image of King Nebuchadnezzar. As a matter of fact the king was so angry that he ordered the fire to be made seven times hotter. It would not have mattered if it had been a thousand times hotter! God not only preserved the three faithful Jewish men, but sent His angel to be with them in the furnace.

Did these three events really happen or are they just allegories? Do not be ashamed, as a Christian, to take the Old Testament literally, no matter what the world around you may say and believe. Yes, these events really did happen!

What does this tell us about our God? Does He still do miracles today? God is God, and we are not! We must be careful to never put a box around God. We are told in Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

This God of Daniel and his three friends is our God today! We can go before Him confidently in prayer knowing that He alone is all-knowing and all-powerful, and can miraculously answer our prayers.

My husband was run over by a tractor when he was a teen; the doctors told his parents that he would probably not live through the night because there was a hole in his lungs. Many Christians prayed that night for my husband; the next day the hole was gone! Was that a miraculous answer of prayer from God? Yes, indeed!

As you go about your duties this day, think about our God who not only worked miraculously for Daniel and his three friends, but works among us today as He moves this world through the path He has already ordained for it to go.

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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