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Character Sketches: Shadrach, Meshach, & Adednego

Recorded on May 5th, 2019

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Shadrach, Meshach, & Adednego were more than just characters in the Bible, they were an example of faith and dedication.

Transcript of Sermon:

[Music] today’s scripture is from Daniel 313 through 18 furious with rage Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach Meshach and Abednego so these men were brought before the king and Nebuchadnezzar said to them is it true Shadrach Meshach and Abednego that you do not serve my gods of worse or worship the image of gold I have set up now 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 the blazing furnace then what God will be able to rescue you from my hand Shadrach Meshach and Abednego replied to him King Nebuchadnezzar 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 deliver us from it and he will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand but 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 the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God thank you all that’s fabulous not quite as hard as last week yeah this week I have to tell you I am going to share with you something that I did not want to share with you but God pushed me just in the beginning and I didn’t want to share with you because that means I might have to do something with my personal life that I don’t want to do which means that he convicted me to change something that I might not want to change and I don’t like that because it’s not fair it’s not fair sometimes when we have to remove something from our lives that we like or enjoy because sometimes the things that we like and enjoy in life might not be the best things for us to participate in in life see we are called as Christians to live a life separated and set apart from the world and sometimes when we are called to live a life that is separated and set apart from the world we have to choose to not do things that others do now I grew up as a latchkey kid I’ve told you before I did not grow up in a Christian home it wasn’t until way into my college years that I accepted Christ into my life it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child until I was baptized and so I grew up as a latchkey kid watching a lot of TV because that’s what my sisters and I did in fact we probably memorized just about every John Hughes 80s movie there ever was because we just watched them over and over and over again and so one of the things that I do to power down in my life because it was a habit I formed very early as I watched TV as a way of just kind of chillin as a way of you know relaxing and Joe and I is one of the things that we do together one of the things that we like to do as a couple one of our together times is we like to watch shows together and when the kids were young we would put them to bed and then we would watch our shows and we don’t have regular cable so we usually watch shows through Hulu or Netflix which means that we have to wait till they’ve already been all out and but that also means that we get to binge watch them which means we just get to watch them all we don’t have to wait week by week we can watch them all in one chunk well um we also like to watch we when we hear about shows we tend to watch ones that people say are really popular now there’s been a few when we’ve like there was one show in particular that people really a lot liked we watched about five seconds of it and to our credit we went oh yeah no we can’t watch that show that one definitely cannot watch that one and then there’s this one show we had read the books we loved the books because to our credit we also liked reading so we’re not just healings you know we we like TV but we also like reading and so we had read these books and we really liked these books we were very excited for the TV representation of these books and when we’ve watched the first episode I kind of looked at Joe and I went I don’t think we should watch the show Joe anyway yeah I know but everybody thinks it’s so good and I said yeah I know but I don’t think we should watch the show Joe and we both decided together that yes we should probably not watch the game of Thrones and so we didn’t watch the game of Thrones for the first season or the second season or any of the seasons until people wouldn’t stop talking about this show they just kept talking about it and talking about it and Joe and I went well maybe if we just fast forwarded through the parts that are really not appropriate and I’m telling you for us for us I’m not judging you if you watch this please know that when I talk about something up here just know I’m talking about me and I’m not talking about you but for us there are some parts that we knew for us we shouldn’t be watching well we gave in to what we thought was probably the best for us and we watched the seasons well I didn’t want to preach this to you because the new season has come out and we haven’t watched it yet because we don’t have regular TV so we have to wait till it’s all done and they put it out on a platform where we can watch it well if I preach this to you and I tell you that we know we shouldn’t watch it well guess what that means I probably shouldn’t ever watch the end of the series right and I was like God come on is this really the example I’m supposed to use and God was like yes my child you knew you probably shouldn’t watch it in the first place and this is the example because here’s what I want to say to you there are times in our lives as Christians where our loyalty to God keeps us from participating and things of this world or should keep us from participating and things of this world our loyalty to God our loyalty to our faith must should keep us from participating in things of this world that we as Christians should not be participating in because it’s not what’s best for us for some of you it’s not TV because that’s not something you would do anyway for some of you there’s certain talk-show people that you probably shouldn’t be letting have an influence in your life there shouldn’t rock shock jocks you shouldn’t be listening to you because they shouldn’t have an influence in your life there are certain parties you shouldn’t be going to because they tempt you there are certain restaurants or bars that you shouldn’t be going to because they tempt you they push you to a place where you participate in something that you shouldn’t participate in because of your faith because of your loyalty because of who you are in Christ as Christians as followers of God our loyalty to God our loyalty to our faith calls us to choose not to participate in things of this world to intentionally choose not to participate in things of this world and why is that why should we not participate in those things why should Joe and I not watch that show why well we’re gonna look at Shadrach Meshach and Abednego we’re gonna look at their story and we’re gonna see some of that why we’re gonna discover some of that why today Shadrach Meshach and Abednego their story begins at the beginning of Daniel it starts in Daniel chapter one Daniel is a book of prophet of happens at the end of the Old Testament in prophecy Daniel chapter one begins with king Nebuchadnezzar overtaking Jerusalem and when he overtakes Jerusalem he tells one of his officials to go out and find some of the smartest and it says literally the most handsome the without defect men and to bring them and to train them to put them over three years of training to teach them the literature to teach them the language of Babylon so that they can become part of the Kings inner circle part of the king’s administrators and Daniel meshach Shadrach and Abednego and meshach Shadrach and Abednego are not their real given Jewish names their real names are Michel Hananiah and Azariah but they’re given Babylonian names which are Shadrach Meshach and Abednego they’re given these names and they’re trained up for three years during this training Daniel Shadrach Meshach and Abednego are also allowed the choicest foods from the Kings table and during at the season Daniel says to the king’s officials we don’t want that choice food our goddess we believe that it’s not the right thing for us you see they knew that their loyalty to God that their faith in God required them not to participate in that part of what the world was doing the world around them they’re required not to participate in that and so they opted out of that participation and so they ate only vegetables in water and because they did that God blessed them God made them the most wise and the most fruitful of all of those that were being trained up for the king and the saw that about Daniel Shadrach Meshach and Abednego and because the King saw that they put those four men those were boys really because they were boys he put them in places of authority of places of real prominence Daniel was the most gifted at of all of them and that’s why this book is written about him but Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were together put as administrators over Babylon and then this is what you see in chapter 3 and chapter 3 what happens is the King builds this gigantic statue of gold 90 feet tall 90 feet tall 9 feet wide so I mean just straight up vertical piece of gold it’s looked like a we think they don’t know but they think it looked like a man like a warrior made of gold 90 feet tall and he says I am any and he sends word out to all of the officials all the astrologers anyone who was anything of prominence all over Babylon he calls them to come to see this statue and to worship it and I picture something like The Lion King you know at the beginning when Simba is born and all of the animals come from far and wide just this huge tract in there they’re just coming and coming and coming and it’s this long journey and it takes a long time it costs a lot of money and they show up and there’s this cease among seas of people standing before this statue and he says when all of these instruments play and there was a lot of instruments so it’s this chorus of music probably a beautiful chorus of music when this beautiful chorus of music plays I expect you all of you to bow down and worship this statue and that’s exactly what happened as soon as the music played all of the people fell and worship this statue except Shadrach Meshach and Abednego now Daniel as a as an administer as a higher-up should have been there they don’t mention him so we don’t know why he’s not there but he’s not but Shadrach Meshach and Abednego do not bow down the King doesn’t notice this because there’s a sea of people there it’s easy to get missed but the astrologers for whatever reason decide to tattletale maybe they’re maybe they’re kindergarteners or first graders because we all know what one of those first grade classrooms look like and they tell the King what happens in the king and this is where Allen picks up the king is furious he is furious but to his credit he doesn’t just take their word for it he calls Shadrach Meshach and Abednego to him and he asks them he says I have heard you have not done this I’m going to give you a chance to bow down and worship this statue and what they say to him was it not shocking when you heard Allan read this I mean can you imagine saying these words to a king can you imagine saying we do not need to defend ourselves to you can you imagine saying if we’re thrown into the furnace God is able to deliver us from it and he will deliver us but even if he does not even if he does not we will not serve the gods or worship the image that you have set up it’s amazing to me their faith it’s amazing to me and I pray that if my faith has ever tested like this that I would respond similarly but it’s so hard to put myself in their position because what I notice is that they don’t even deliberate they don’t stop for a second they don’t hesitate they don’t stop and talk to each other they don’t say well what should we do what do you think they say immediately we don’t need to defend our selves against you we know who we are and we know who our God is they know they know who their God is so well that they don’t judge the threat they don’t judge the situation by the enormity of the threat in front of them because it’s about their God and not about the situation before them see to them this is the same as choosing to eat vegetables and water and taking the consequence that that might come with it it’s the same thing to them the chance of being thrown into the fire is the same risk as eating vegetables and water and maybe being kicked out of the Kings Court or perhaps being killed for not doing what they were supposed to do it’s the same threat because it’s the same God protecting them for being faithful does that make sense they’re not looking at the fire and judging the situation by the fire they’re judging the situation by the power of their God so the question we must ask ourselves when we look at a situation that’s before us is not how scary the situation before us is not how daunting the situation is but how big our God is so whether it’s a car that’s broken down or the alcoholism that we struggle with or the cancer that we’ve been told we have or the loss of a child whether it’s any of those things to us it should be all the same because it’s not the situation that we face it’s the power of our God that matters it’s the power of our God that matters and what made Shadrach Meshach and Abednego able to stand firm and knowing the power of their God was the fact that they stood fast in their faith in the small things they were loyal to God in the small things they trusted God in the small things day by day making the yes choices in the small things and God blessed them every time they did so when you and I say yes in the small things it may seem like nothing to me just say yes about the stupid Game of Thrones because it’s fun and it’s not fair that I can’t watch it because I’m a Christian it’s just not fair but maybe that yes is one of the things that build that firm foundation of understanding that my God has a purpose for me not to participate in those things and it builds my faith and it builds my understanding of who God is and he blesses that choice and he blesses me and every time I say yes to those things he’s building my stead fast faith and a steadfast faith builds steadfast faithfulness and that’s what Shadrach Meshach and Abednego had as they stood before the king they had a steadfast faithfulness their steadfast faith because of standing loyal before God saying no to the world saying yes to God ended up having steadfast faith they were certain they were certain of their God and his power in their lives not other people’s lives in their lives and so the king gets furious he has the fire turned up seven times the men who takes Shadrach Meshach and Abednego to the fire they die because the fire is so hot Shadrach Meshach and Abednego fall into the fire and the King watching this stands up amazed because as he’s looking into the fire he sees not three men but four and he says to his counsel do you did we not just throw three men in there and they say yes sir then why are there four and that fourth one looks like a son of the gods and he calls Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego to come out of the fire and the people gather around and Shadrach Meshach and Abednego as they come out of the fire there’s not a hair singed their clothes look exactly the same as they did before they don’t even smell like fire I can’t go to Waffle House without smelling like Waffle House and these men do not like smell like fire the only thing burned were the ropes that had bound them you see Shadrach Meshach and Abednego trusted that God would get them through that but they did not presume to know what God’s will was they said we know that God will get us through this and even if he doesn’t we know that he will take care of us is basically what they were saying even if his will is that we would perish we trust him that’s where you and I need to be we know that God has us we need to be certain we need to day in and day out choose God over this world so that we can send steadfast in her face so we can be steadfast and faithfulness day in and day out because sometimes God wants to deliver us from trial so we don’t have to stand in trial and sometimes God wants to walk with us and build us up as we walk in trial because many of us if not all of us at some point in our life will walk deep in the depths of a fiery furnace and that fourth person will be with you that fourth person that son of God will be there unbinding your hands making sure that you have what it takes to walk this walk to carry this burden to get through this journey to make it through the fire and get out on the other side as you are steadfast in your faith certain of the power of your God let’s pray God we love you we are thankful that you give us the power that we need to be released from trial and then other times to stand strong and trial to persevere through trial thank you for helping us to be steadfast in faith give us the courage we need to say no to this world and you know what each one of us need to say no to we’re all unique we all have our own things give us the courage to say no and bless us when we say yes to you it’s in your name we pray, Amen.