First Things @ First

Pastoral Perspectives;

I was reminded the other day of the absolute surrender of those three Hebrew teenagers that were tested in their faith while in the foreign country of Babylon. Their names are familiar to Bible students; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Their faith, most likely not so much.

These three young men demonstrated a great depth of spiritual maturity when they were confronted directly with the choice of conforming to the will of a very worldly king named Nebuchadnezzar or choosing to remain faithful to the word of God. All of those who had been promoted to leadership were instructed to gather in the plain of Dura and at the sound of the trumpet, fall before the gargantuan idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had fashioned for public worship. All gathered as commanded and all bowed before it, except three. Imagine standing out in the middle of a desert place with no one or nothing to hide behind. Their faith and determination were on public display for everyone to see. And everyone did!

Word soon traveled to Nebuchadnezzar that there were three who were not willing to comply nor conform. The consequence of failing to obey the command was death. Death in a furnace of fire.

These three young men knew that before they refused to comply with the command that defied God. These three young men were brought before the king and given a second chance to conform to his will. All three remained steadfast in their faith.

I appreciate the way O.S. Hawkins describes the scene. Hawkins says, "These three knew that God was able to deliver them from the fire. Shadrach and his two friends, however, placed their faith in God and God alone, not in what they could get from Him. (that last statement is worth reading again) God is always able to deliver us. The issue is His sovereign will.

Whether or not God delivers us from the furnace--the disease, the business failure--should never change our conviction that He is able. We all know people who have dropped out of the race because even though they said, 'Our God whom we serve is able,' they could not add those three little words but if not.'" (Daniel 3:18)

Hawkins continues, "God's ability is never the issue. He is able, period, exclamation point!

The issue is if you can complete the sentence 'But if not..." (end)

Can you?

More importantly, when you and I face the test of being conformed to the world system, (and we are because we're surrounded by it every day), will we be able complete the sentence, 'But if not...'? We will when we realize that we're surrou

nded by the person and power of Almighty God. Because God is able, we who believe are too, in Christ! Philippians 4:13

Romans 12:1-2 is a good reminder for all who believe, especially in trying times!

Pray for VBS this week!

God's best to all this week as your journey with Jesus!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36