Last Sunday of the Church Year – Monday Devotion

Readings:  Daniel 3:1-30 and Revelation 20:1-15

Daniel 3:15B-20  But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 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. 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.” 

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

 

“Stand Strong”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were demonstrating what Peter proclaimed in Acts 5:29. They were obeying God rather than man. When they did, the consequences seemed rather dire. Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace.  The men who threw them in died from the heat because it was so hot.  But God spared these three men.  And not only did He spare them, but the fire didn’t burn their hair, not even singing it, and their clothes didn’t smell smoky. God, through His angels, completely protected them!

Would we have the faith shown by Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and, later, Daniel? Would we be willing to stand on our faith if ordered to bow to false gods? That is a test we face every day. What, in this world, is most important to you? Would you give that up in order to remain true to the God of all creation? 

What was the result of the faith of these three men? Nebuchadnezzar, the king, declared that no one should speak against their God. Their trust in Him was a solid witness of their faith. They said that even if God had not rescued, not delivered them from the furnace, they would still not bow to the false gods of Nebuchadnezzar, even him.

We live in trying times. Have you experienced the testing or your faith? It may be friends or family, it can be co-workers or others who challenge your faith. How do you answer?  We are called to give answer, in season and out of season, to defend our faith (see 2 Timothy 4:1-2). The climate has changed in just the last few years. If you stand on the sanctity of life you are challenging the rights of another person.  Others label you as homophobic if you oppose same-sex marriages. If you stand on what the Word of God proclaims others may see you as out of touch with reality. And, praise God, you are; at least, man’s view of reality. You are following the direction of God and not man.

But living with the godless in society does not mean we do not quit proclaiming the true and living God. It does not mean we wander away and leave the person without hope. It does mean we continue to live our faith as an example to them. We continue to share the hope we have. Turning to the cross on which Jesus gave His life, and the tomb He left empty at the resurrection, we share the message of forgiveness won for us.

Living in these last days should remind us, each day anew, of the urgency of living out the Gospel, of sharing the faith we have. It might mean facing a fiery furnace, even threat of death, but God can, and will, deliver us. And, even if He doesn’t, don’t bow down to those false gods surrounding you.

 

PRAYER:  Give us a faith, O Lord, that, when challenged, stands strong, when threatened still proclaims, and when rebuked speaks back with the love shown us in Jesus, our Savior. Amen.