How Many Times?

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 4:1-37 (day two) 

All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. vs. 28-29

Nebuchadnezzar is like most of us, if we are honest. We are mostly consumed with our own want and desires. There will be times of crisis where we come to a place of recognizing our need for God, and may, for a time, trust in his ability to help us. It’s that “for a time” part that is the problem. Our moments of clarity in crisis do not equate to a surrendered heart and life. Nebuchadnezzar had more than one opportunity to recognize God as the ultimate authority over him, and he gave some lip service before everything was taken from him. His last word was to praise the Lord, but we must ask the question – do we have to have everything forcibly taken away before we will submit to his will? How appropriate a question for us today, as many of us are struggling with so much loss. It’s not too late.

Monday Re:Verse Blog Post – 3/23/20

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 4:1-37 (day one)

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 4:1-37 in our Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.

Smell of Fire

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day seven)

“[…] nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.” vs 27

If you have ever sat around a camp fire, you know that it is impossible to avoid the smell of smoke. It saturates your clothes, your hair, and even your skin. It requires a full on cleaning to get that smell out. Yet, this was no camp fire nor a bon fire for that matter. This was a fire that killed those who even got near, and still, they didn’t even smell like smoke. It was as if they were never there to begin with.

This shows the comprehensiveness of God’s protection on these young men in a direct answer to the question of the king, “what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” To a man who considered himself a god, God showed off His true power by not only delivering these young men safely but protecting them from every aspect of the fire.

God saves us in the same way. He removes our sin and cleanses even the stench of what was once there. It is as if it was never there to begin with. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12. 

Worthy

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day six)

29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29-30

Is there a god worthy of dying for? Or worthy of giving up so much? Not in the Babylonian pantheon. Marduk, or any other god, was only as worthy as the gifts he gives. Nebuchadnezzar, nor any other local in Babylon, couldn’t fathom risking so much for seemingly so little.

Just bow down. Keep your beliefs and convictions quietly to yourself. Just for a moment, then stand up and go about your business. It’s not worth possibly losing so much-reputation, the next rung up the ladder, acceptance.

Make no mistake God is an [extraordinary] rewarder of those who seek him! Not because of the gifts he gives (there are many), but because he gives himself. Fellowship is our reward. Knowing him is our eternal treasure. God was Shadrach’s anchor; Meshach’s assurance; Abednego’s confidence.

They loved the giver, more than the gifts he can give.

There is a God worth dying for.

Prepared

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day five)  

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 

This bold and courageous declaration is a culmination of years of faithfulness and discipline by the three young Hebrews. God had been equipping and preparing them for this moment.  God had used Daniel as an influence and example. God had given them other experiences that demonstrated His power and faithfulness. So, when the crucial moment comes, they continue to serve and honor God just like they have been doing all along. A regular rhythm of loyalty to God and a regular conviction of glorifying Him above all others.  Think about David and Goliath.  Same pattern… God had been preparing David for that moment as far back as in the fields where he protected sheep with his sling. David remained faithful and humble.  The three young Jews remained faithful and humble. As we serve and follow Christ with faithfulness and humility, part of God’s work in our lives is preparing and equipping us for what lies ahead. Do you trust Him to do that?

Walk By Faith

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day four)

Wonder where King Nebuchadnezzar got the idea of a large statue?  It appears that the king missed several of the key points of Daniel’s interpretation of his dream.  The first key point was that, in his dream, the statue represented several kingdoms over a long period of time.  Nebuchadnezzar also failed to accept that he was represented only by the head.  In his version, he is the entire statue…all made of gold.  The other key point he failed to get was that God was the sovereign power over all the kingdoms…his included!  Nebuchadnezzar heard what he wanted to hear…anyone who disagreed would be thrown into the furnace.

Our three Hebrew friends, on the other hand, had a clear understanding of what God had said.  They were demonstrating obedience to His command to have no other gods before Him.  This teaching was basic to their upbringing.  In the face of trial, they demonstrated great faith (Hebrews 11:34) and stayed true to their God.  How will you be remembered…as one who walked their own path or one who followed the path of faith?   The outcomes of each are very different.

Seeker

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day three)

“The appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”

Nebuchadnezzar employed his non-Hebrew cultural perspective in an honest attempt to describe what he could not explain: “one like a son of the gods.” Was he wrong? Would you just love to tweak his language (as some translations do) so that it emerges as the much more acceptable designation “the Son of God?” Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t wrong so much as he was observant. He believed that he was seeing profound evidence of something cosmic in scope. He now wanted to know more than ever what was real, where he could stand, whom he could trust. God can work with that. When someone is becoming ever more interested in the activity of the divine, God will put up with some awkward descriptors. He’ll put up with far more than that. Will you?

Even if He Doesn’t

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day two) 

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” vs. 17-18

I have found myself here more than I care to admit. My view of our Almighty God is based more on what he can do for me than for who He is. I have been guilty of looking at the Lord as a dispensary for miracles, favors, or constant help. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego remind me that we serve a God who is worthy of our praise even if he doesn’t dispense our wants and desires. Even if he doesn’t “deliver” us from sickness, struggles, or tough times; God is worthy of our devotion. Remember what he has done for you. Christ Jesus in his atonement through the cross has done all that we could ever need. If the Lord continues to allow us to walk a tough path, we can rest assured that, even this is temporary. Christ has won the victory and is worthy of our praise even in the uncertainty of today. I am grateful for this reminder from Daniel.

Here is an excerpt from one of our favorite anthems My Eternal King which speaks to a proper focus on who we worship:

Why, then why, O Blessed Jesus Christ,

Should I not love Thee well?

Not for the hope of winning heaven,

Or of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,

Not seeking a reward;

But as Thyself hast loved me,

O ever-loving Lord!

E’en so I love Thee, and will love,

And in Thy praise will sing;

Solely because Thou art my God,

And my Eternal King!

Monday Re:Verse Blog Post – 3/16/20

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 3:1-30 (day one)

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Daniel 3:1-30 in our Spring Sermon Series: “Faith Under Fire” A Study in Daniel.

Community

Re:Verse passage – Daniel 2:31-49 (day seven) 

 And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon.” vs. 49.

Daniel’s first order of business when he gets into power is to request a promotion for his fellow Israelite companions. It may seem like a ploy for his friends to benefit off of Daniel’s success, but Daniel knows the importance of these three men. They were with him from the very beginning. They were there to stand with Daniel as he denied the king’s food. They were there to pray with Daniel when he promised the king an interpretation. They were crucial to Daniel’s success, and Daniel recognizes this.

We are stronger when we are together. We are stronger when we come alongside and encourage one another. We are stronger with community. This is what the church was designed to do.

Even on a day when it may seem like we are separated, we are still together. Our community is bigger than the walls of our building. Today we stand together to worship and pray with our families in our homes. All across this city and across this nation, we stand together to praise the King who is on the Throne. Our community is still together!