HEROES OF FAITH: KNOW GOD, BE STRONG, HAVE GREAT ADVENTURES
(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
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KEY TEXT: “But the people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b).
INTRO TO THE BIBLE STORY:
“1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. 6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.” (Daniel 1:1-7).
- These four young men were strangers in a foreign land. They were being indoctrinated in a secular university, forced to learn their ways of talking and thinking.
- This world system was trying to squeeze them into its mold!
THE BIG IDEA: The Bible says that the people who know God will be strong and have great adventures. Daniel and his three friends’ lives are an example for us to follow.
BIBLE ILLUSTRATION: Dramatize the story. (Daniel 3:1-30).
- The story of three young boys who knew God, were strong, and had great adventures.
- Start out by talking about three heroes who got in trouble for doing what was right:
- Cast: Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael. Two astrologers. Angry king. Three soldiers to tie them up. Statue. Fire. Musicians.
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the (people) to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 When all these officials had arrived and were standing before the image King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, 4 a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the (musical) instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the (people)… bowed to the ground and worshiped the statue that King Neb had set up. 8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Neb, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They have defied Your Majesty by refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you have set up.”
- Notice that these three boys didn’t compromise even though everyone else did.
- What a great example they are to us! We live in a world that wants us to compromise.
13 Then Neb flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Neb said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Neb, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
19 Neb was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully clothed. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in! 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, as he was watching, Neb jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes,” they said, “we did indeed, Your Majesty.” 25 “Look!” Neb shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!”
- When we refuse to compromise, God is with us in the fire. He comes to our defense!
26 Then Neb came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So (they) stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the (people) crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Neb said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” … 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
WHAT ARE SOME LESSONS WE LEARN FROM THIS STORY?
- The world will always try to get us to compromise and worship things other than God.
- It’s easier to be strong in your faith and stand up for God with friends.
- Sometimes God doesn’t deliver us from the fire, but instead is with us in the fire.
HOW CAN WE BECOME HEROES OF FAITH?
- It’s not just about saying no to sin and compromise, but also about saying yes to God!
- Show love to people: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13, NKJV).
- Forgive people: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32).
- Do good to people: “31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matt. 25:31-40).
Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/