God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14 - Daniel 1-3: God Sets Things Right for Those who Trust Him

Today’s Reading: Daniel 1-3

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah trusted in God even after seeing God's great punishment.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

King Nebuchadnezzar assembled exiled Judah's brightest for training. Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego), proposed a developmental competition: their vegetable-and-water diet against the king's menu. The four became exceedingly-more helpful than their peers.
Nebuchadnezzar's dream deeply disturbed him. Daniel asked God for its interpretation. God told Daniel it forecasted Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. Daniel and his three friends were highly promoted.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered his kingdom's leaders to worship his statue. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused. Nebuchadnezzar threatened them. They again refused. Nebuchadnezzar threw them in a furnace. They were unaffected—and joined by a god-like figure. Nebuchadnezzar blessed God.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted God more than they feared their captors.

Before we look at this story we need to understand that Daniel and the three men with him have seen terrible atrocities in Jerusalem. They (presumably) had to watch their family and neighbors die horrible, agonizing deaths. Questioning, doubting, or rejecting God would be a reasonable response. Full faith in God even when given the opportunity to live a long, luxurious life in the king's palace would be unfathomable. This setting is what makes their test of a diet full of vegetables and water vs. the king's food and wine a test of faith, not a proof of the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Although they were improved by not drinking the king's wine and eating all of his food, their test proved it was better to trust God than abandon Him—even in their exiled land. Trust God in everything and God will set things right in your life. You may not be rewarded as Daniel and his friends, but you will excel.

Daniel's trust in God soothed Nebuchadnezzar's nerves.

The king wanted the young men to learn magic and fortune-telling—two things specifically prohibited in God's Law. When his dream disturbed him, he called the ones who learned magic and fortunetelling to figure out and interpret the dream (and exposed fortunetelling as a fake practice of reading a person and telling them what they want to hear). Daniel and the three prayed to God to give them the interpretation. God gave Daniel both the dream's contents and its interpretation. Daniel blessed God. When Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar the dream's interpretation he gave God the credit. Nebuchadnezzar blessed God. When God's Chosen People trust Him, God can set things right for non-Chosen People.

God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because of their trust that He would set all things right.

The great lesson from the three being thrown in the furnace is two-fold: 1. God will protect His Chosen People to uphold His Name; and 2. When non-Chosen People see God's Protection, they, too, will give praise to God. The three were unwilling to compromise their trust in God even in the face of death. Nebuchadnezzar saw God protect them and praised God for doing so. What an awesome God!

Are you willing to trust God to set all things right?

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