What if you should do something but someone is trying to threaten or bully you into doing it? Would you stand up for what is right? Would you resist the threats and attacks? What if the threat was life or death? Would you change your response? Would you stand up for what is right? Would you give in and go against everything you believe in? What if everyone else was doing it or ok with it? What if everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you? Just because everyone else was doing it doesn’t make it right! What if they made it a law that you had to do it? Would that make you change your mind? Would you stand up for what is right ?Would you stand up for what is good? Would you do what is right in the eyes of man vs what is right? Where is your trust? Is your hope and your trust in God? Will you let God be your deliverer? Our God saves!
Let’s take a look at the first part of our reading today and see how they responded…
The Image of Gold and the Blazing Furnace
1King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majestyʼs hand. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
19Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22The kingʼs command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Werenʼt there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the kingʼs command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
What would you do if you had a dream that frightened you? How would you respond to it? Where would you turn? What would you do? Who can you trust and ask? When would you let others know and ask for wisdom or help? Why wouldn’t you turn to God or God’s people? You can turn to God if you believe! You can ask of Him! Ask, Seek, Knock! Believe! Fear Not, Just Believe! It may not be easy! In this world we will have troubles, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! In this world we will face trials, we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that our faith can persevere and when that is done, we can be mature, complete, and lacking nothing!
Won’t you believe in God? Won’t you ask Jesus into your heart? What will it take for you to make this choice and to humble yourself before God? It’s not all done by your hands but through God’s! He is creator! He owns everything! How long will it take before you humble yourself and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior? How long before you will praise and worship Him? Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess … will you choose it before you have to?
Today’s reading continues with just such a situation…let’s see how that plays out…
Nebuchadnezzarʼs Dream of a Tree
To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:
May you prosper greatly!
2It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
3How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;
his dominion endures from generation to generation.
4I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous. 5I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. 6So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. 8Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me. 10These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
13“In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven. 14He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 15But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field.
“ ‘Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.
17“ ‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
18“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
Daniel Interprets the Dream
19Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.”
Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries! 20The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— 22Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.
23“Your Majesty saw a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live with the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’
24“This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
The Dream Is Fulfilled
28All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
31Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
33Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.
34At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?”
36At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
There is truth, absolute truth! Truth isn’t variable or fluctuating! So if someone is trying to make you do something that isn’t true, isn’t right, or isn’t just, what will you do? How will you respond? What if someone tries to prevent you from doing what is true, is right, or is just, what will you do? Will you teach? Will you respond? Will you share? Will you stand up? Will you help advance the situation thru faith? Will you help advance the situation thru love? thru a pure heart? thru a good conscience? thru sincere faith?
Jesus came to save the sinners! Jesus is patient! The law was to teach and show us how we need help and a savior! The law isn’t for the righteous but for those who need to be corrected! We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Jesus died for us on the cross to pay the ultimate price in order that we can be reconciled back to God! We need to receive this gift from God! Have you accepted this gift of God yet? What will it take?
Today’s reading continues into 1 Timothy 1 where we read Paul’s words to him…
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing Godʼs work—which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
The Lordʼs Grace to Paul
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Charge to Timothy Renewed
18Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
–1 Timothy 1
So let’s thank God! Let’s praise Him for all He has done for us! Let’s build up our relationship with Him by daily walking and talking wth Him! Let’s not try to go it alone but rather let’s walk out each day with Him, seeking wisdom for each situation and each conversation we face so that in and thru it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s not be selfish! Let’s not be so proud that we get tripped up!
Today’s reading concludes in 2 Thessalonians 1…
1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4Therefore, among Godʼs churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
5All this is evidence that Godʼs judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
–2 Thessalonians 1