Tag Archives: Meshach

Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Fire Walking

Satan wants to enslave us. He wants to force us to worship him, by enticements and even by hreats. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were very devout. They were not going to worship foreign gods even when they were in a foreign land. Nebuchadnez′zar’s fiery furnace would have been persuasive for most people, but not these three Israelites. They relied on God alone to save them, and even if He did not they were not going to worship the king’s golden statue.

We know the story. The King made good on his threat. But the consequences of his action were not anticipated:

Then King Nebuchadnez′zar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He answered, “But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”  (Daniel 3:24-25)

Attempting to live holy lives does not guarantee that we will be not be tested in the fire. Rather, this is all the more reason for Satan to attack us, and attack us he will. We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. If we are tested by fire, then we can be assured that Jesus will be in the fire with us.

Jesus is the only one who can set us free from sin:

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.   (John 8:31–36)

Our task is to continue in Jesus’ word and keep trusting in him.

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Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

Mercy and Forgiveness

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three pious Jewish youths who were thrown into a fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. We remember that they had refused to bow down to the king’s image as told in the Book of Daniel. God preserved them from harm. The king looked into the furnace and saw four men walking in the flames, the fourth like “a son of god”.

The following is part of the prayer of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from within the flames of the furnace:

In our day we have no ruler, or prophet, or leader,
no burnt-offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense,
no place to make an offering before you and to find mercy.

Yet with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted,
as though it were with burnt-offerings of rams and bulls,
or with tens of thousands of fat lambs;
such may our sacrifice be in your sight today,
and may we unreservedly follow you,
for no shame will come to those who trust in you.   (Song of the Three Young Men 15-17)

Israel was in exile. It was no longer possible to offer burnt offerings to God. Offerings were a way for the Israelites to acknowledge their sin-fullness before God – a way of approaching him great humility and thankfulness for his mercy. King David’s psalm speaks about the best way we can all approach God.

For you have no delight in sacrifice;
    if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.   (Psalm 51:16-17)

God performed a great miracle that day. The young men were spared. What is significant is that these they could approach God without any offering and God still accepted their prayer. God is full of mercy and abounding in steadfast love. Nevertheless, how we approach God is all important.

It is a matter of our faith, but also a matter of our heart. God takes sin very seriously. Israel was asked by God to make sacrifices to him, but nothing that we do can compare to the sacrifice that God made to us. He has given us his only begotten Son to die on a cross for our sins.

We remember the parable that Jesus told about the wicked slave who, once forgiven a debt my his master, turned around and was unforgiving to his fellow slaves. It concludes this way:

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”   (Matthew 18:32-35)

We will certainly never be able to pay our debt to God. Jesus has paid our debt for us. What is our attitude towards God for so great a sacrifice? Do we have a grateful heart? If so, then how do we demonstrate that heart in our love for God and our neighbors?

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