And what about the apparel worn by those in the choir – or the congregation at large?
By Simeon Solomon
Around 584 B.C., famous King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the creation of a giant idol, dedicated to his own honor and to his pagan gods. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered everyone to bow and worship the image.
Three faithful fellows refused.
The story is one of the most familiar of all Bible accounts. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respectfully answered the king, claiming that God could rescue them from King Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. Their testimony is telling.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
replied to the king,
we do not need to defend ourselves
before you in this matter.
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,
the God we serve is able to save us from it,
and He will rescue us from your hand,
But even if He does not,
we want you to know, O king,
that we will not serve your gods
or worship the image of gold
you have set up.’”
(Daniel 3:16-18, NIV, emphasis added)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego daringly declared their trust in the one Almighty God. They announced their dedication to Jehovah, no matter how the Lord chose to act. The Lord did intervene in a miraculous way, protecting the three men and delivering them unscorched from the fiery furnace.
But what if God had chosen martyrdom for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They still trusted Him.
For what is God calling you to trust Him today?
Do you face illness, danger, financial worries or other concerns? Where is your own faith being tested?
Personally, I am living with a condition that the medical community calls chronic and probably progressive. I know that our great God, Jehovah Rapha, is able to heal me. If the Lord chooses to intervene miraculously, I will praise Him. If the Great Physician grants human doctors and medical researchers insight that leads to a cure for me and so many others, I will praise Him.
What if I am not healed – at least, not in this lifetime?
My life belongs to the Lord, the Giver of all Life. He promises healing, although it may come when I receive my brand-new resurrection body. At that time, will I question His timing? Certainly not.
I have an inkling about this. Once I see the Lord’s face, I think all other concerns will quickly fall away.
Will we trust Him now?
Will you pray with me?
You are God.
Your timing is perfect,
Even as You are perfect.
You know our needs.
You know our hurts.
You know what causes us the greatest concern
And what disturbs our rest.
We lay our worries
At your holy feet.
For Your loving answer
In Your time.
May we glorify You
As You answer our pleas.
Warning the Watchman
(Ezekiel 32:1-32; 33:10-20)
Does God hold us accountable for others’ salvation? Will those who know the truth be called to judgment for those who do not?
Theologians have pondered these points for millennia.
The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel offered strong words from God, detailing divinely ordained accountability for those who carry the Lord’s message of truth.
"Son of man,
I have made you a watchman
for the house of Israel;
so hear the word I speak
and give them warning from Me.
When I say to the wicked,
'O wicked man, you will surely die,'
and you do not speak out to dissuade him
from his ways,
that wicked man will die for his sin,
and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
But if you do warn the wicked man
to turn from his ways
and he does not do so,
he will die for his sin,
but you will have saved yourself.”
(Ezekiel 33:7-9, NIV, emphasis added)
What sobering words! God vowed to hold His prophet accountable for carrying His message to those who needed to hear it.
Might God also make us His watchmen, entrusting us with His Gospel? Does He hold us responsible for sharing the truth with those who need to hear it?
Will you pray with me?
Your Word is truth.
Your Gospel is love and peace.
You have blessed us
with Your way of reconciliation
through Your own Son,
Make us mindful
of the responsibility
You have given to us
to share Your Word
With the world.
Grant us Holy Spirit boldness,
and wisdom to recognize
Opportunities You give us
to offer Your truth.
A Skeleton’s Story
(Ezekiel 37:1-28; 38:1-23; 39:1-29)
God gave his Old Testament prophet Ezekiel a rather unusual vision – a valley of dry bones. Then the Lord asked Ezekiel if it might be possible for those dried out bones to come to life.
I love the answer Ezekiel gave to the Lord.
He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "O Sovereign Lord, You alone know."
How many questions might we answer in exactly this same way? How often do we try to come up with our own smart solutions, when only God truly knows the answer? Doesn’t God seem to delight in asking rhetorical questions, perhaps simply to prove the pride or humility of the hearer?
The Lord promised Ezekiel that He could, indeed, raise dry, dead bones to life. Historically, God proved this to be true, as He restored the nation of Israel. Spiritually, our great and gracious Lord proves this daily, as He rebirths and renews all of us who recognize that we are dead in our sins without the fresh, new life that only He can provide.
How do I know this is so? I once was a dead shell, a skeleton without substance, carrying bony burdens. But the Lord set me free. He clothed me in His own holiness, rebirthing me in His own image. And He continues to remake me every single day.
What a wonderful Maker. What a wonderful re-maker. God is able!
Will you pray with me?
You breathed life into man.
Then You offered new life,
After we sold ourselves
And to sin.
You breathe new life into us
As we turn to You.
Call life into our deadness,
And light into our darkness.
Say the word,
And it will be so.
For You are
The great “I AM,”
And there is no other.