Hananiah, Misha'el, & Azariah
It appears that the King never gave it a thought that Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego would be so brazen as to not fall down and worship. When they did not bow and stood up, the King's "visage changed," and he became enraged. Despite having just witnessed a miracle of sorts with Daniel and the King's dreams, he went from rational to irrational in a split second. Suddenly he was out for blood, because his position as a deity, a king and the ultimate ruler was being challenged by three Jewish teenagers. There audacious behavior separated them from everyone else, ie., all the rest of the Jews present bowed down with no problem taking the easiest and safest route; after all, why make waves...Sound familiar? Better to duck and pretend to blend in, rather than to stand up or stand out for our God. Most of us do this aware and unawares all the time. For example, if you pray over your meals at home, maybe you will pass on it in a restaurant. Hiding your soul and your love of God, even for a few seconds, instantly kills your relationship with Him, because you literally break His heart. When someone does not stand up for those they claim to love, it shows a serious character flaw, causing a double whammy of momentous proportion. First you hurt the King of Kings in a way that only a parent could understand. It takes the breath away from any parent who loves their children, when they get tossed "under the bus" for the sake of convenience or gain. God the Father, must double over in heartfelt pain every time we deny Him, and yet, we all including me, do it all to often. The second part of this whammy is that you forever stain your immortal soul. Remember when Moses was embarrassed to take the stone tablets to the people for God on Mt. Sinai? That one sin affected our God so much that, even though forgiven, it was never forgotten. God told Moses that he would never enter the the "promised land," because of it. Know this, all you who profess to believe. The time is near when you will literally have to stand straight and maybe be broken, for your faith. If you bend and fall, get back up on God's side, as fast as you can. "His mercy endureth forever,"
Faith of Noah
Imagine a pure white linen table cloth put under your Thanksgiving dinner. It makes everything on the table look incredible, until someone spills the gravy or the sweet potatoes. Those small sins will come out in the wash, but when someone spills a whole glass of red wine on this fine white cloth, the stain is permanent. Oh, you may get most of it off over time, but their will always be a hint or shadow of what happened to that stained soul visible to our Lord and Savior. Throughout the Bible anyone who has not stood solid for God, even for a minute, an hour or a day, has permanently marked the crystal clear purity of their immortal soul for eternity. Forgiven, of course, forgotten, never...
We studied RAGE not long ago. Nebuchadnezzar had the fiery ovens made seven times hotter than normal as he spewed out the orders to throw these three kids into blaze. What teenager do you know who would stand firm under these conditions? What faithful man or women today or any day would tell the King of the known world that they will not bow to him or his golden image, despite the threat of being burned alive...I know none. Many of us will fold under the pressures to come at least once. Never that that stop you!
Let's look at their Hebrew names. The one's we all know were their Chaldean names given to them in captivity:
- Hananiah It means Gracious God
- Misha'el It means God Provides
- Azariah It means God Helps
"What's in a Name," was a prior Posting, and these say it all. Underneath those Chaldean names were three faithful and brave Hebrew young men.
Faith of Job
For the "Pièce de résistance", they tell King Nebu that they don't know if their God will save them or not. The choice will be His, and they are satisfied with either decision, because they know that our God, the infinite El Shaddai, will save them in life or in death. It quite literally brings tears to my eyes to recount their tiny place in biblical history. This kind of faith puts them in a rare category of believer, right up there with Abraham, Noah, and Job. These were great men of faith that proved it everyday with there lives. As humbled as I will be to meet any of them in the next life, I will stand in line to meet three Jewish kids and be proud to call them by their real Jewish names.
May God give us all the spiritual mettle necessary to stand up for Him when the road becomes impossible to bear, like the children above.
The Digital Disciple
Faith of Abraham