Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem. Youths with no defect were given daily rations of choice food and wine, but Daniel asked that he and his 3 friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) might not defile themselves with the king’s choice food and wine. They ate only vegetables for ten days and their appearance seemed better than all the youths who had eaten the king’s choice food.
Daniel is an amazing book of the Old Testament. It provides many examples of godly living for us to consider. In the section above from first chapter of Daniel we see Daniel and his friends choosing a godly direction versus a very tempting and comfortable worldly path. The outcome of their decision was that they prospered much more than those who chose the tempting option.
Pornography is tempting to us. It offers a quick, inexpensive outlet for lust, stress and loneliness. However, we ultimately suffer in one way or another. We do not see any long-term satisfaction, but just a momentary high, followed by guilt and pain.
Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and proclaimed that all “men, at the moment they hear the sound of the horn, are to fall down and worship the golden image … whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the furnace of blazing fire.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship the image telling Nebuchadnezzar “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire. But if He does not, we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
After casting them into the furnace, and seeing them uninjured, Nebuchadnezzar was astounded and said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire? I see four men loosed and walking about in the fire without harm, and the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him.”
When we look at the third chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar is seeking the praises of men rather than the glorification of God. All the people fear the king so they comply with his decree and bow before him. The 3 young men from Jerusalem choose to bow before no one but God, having faith that their obedience will be rewarded either temporally, with being rescued from the fire or eternally, with finding themselves in the presence of the Lord.
As it turned out, the Lord spared these young men by sending what most believe was Jesus to shield them from the flames. Regardless of the outcome, the main point was the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was unwavering. Similarly, we who struggle with temptation must realize that going along with what the world does will very often be in opposition to God’s will for our lives.
King Darius appointed 120 satraps to be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (including Daniel). Daniel began distinguishing himself because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. The commissioners and satraps tried to find accusations against Daniel; but they could find none. So they told the king “King Darius, you should establish a statute that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. Daniel knowing of the document, entered his house and knelt three times a day, praying to God. The commissioners and satraps spoke to the king, “Daniel, keeps making his petition three times a day.”
Daniel was cast into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “Your God will Himself deliver you.” The king arose at dawn, and went in haste to the lions’ den. When he came near the den he cried out with a troubled voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel spoke, “O king, my God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, I was found innocent before Him; and toward you, I have committed no crime.”
The final section of Daniel we are considering is the most well-known chapter of this great book, Daniel in the lions’ den. Now, while the miraculous closing of the lions’ mouths is exciting and incredible, the key to this story is again the great faith and obedience exhibited by one of God’s children.
Daniel was well aware that his decision to pray to the Lord, despite the King’s statute, could result in his being cast into the lions’ den. But Daniel remained faithful and put God first before his own safety. Putting God above ourselves becomes easier the more we immerse ourselves in His Word and godly pursuits. We can overcome lust, because Jesus overcame all sin on our behalf.
Proverbs 3:5-6 … Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
by Be Free in Christ