Slightly Obsessed #063 "Unbowed" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-03-05 07:43:55
Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” –Matthew 22:21
The new statue of Nebuchadnezzar stood in all its golden ninety-foot glory, erected to honor the Babylonian king. Nebuchadnezzar planned a very special celebration for its dedication. A proclamation had been issued and sent throughout his kingdom: When the music played, every person in the kingdom was to fall down and worship the image. Nearby, a large furnace was a warning to anyone who dared to defy the king’s orders. Anyone who didn’t bow would be burned to death in it.
The day came. The music played. Everybody bowed.
Everyone, that is, except three young Hebrew men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These men were among those taken from their homes as captives of Babylon and trained in service to the pagan king with the new names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
In captivity these three men had served peacefully in the king’s court, administrating the kingdom for the very person who made them slaves. It’s hard to fathom the depth of trust they had in their God to serve under such difficult circumstances.
But now they were presented with a dilemma. They must feign worship to the image at the king’s command or face instant execution in a blazing furnace of fire. It would be easy to avoid the flames. But they knew they could not bow to a foreign sovereign, even in pretense.
So they stood alone as the people fell before the idol. At their refusal the king had the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The three Jewish men were tied up and thrown into the furnace. The men who carried them to the furnace were themselves killed by the intense heat.
The next moment, Nebuchadnezzar stood astounded. In the middle of the flames walked four men, unharmed and unbound. As for the three captives, the fire did not even singe their clothes. They walked out just as they entered, with one notable exception: they were free. The fire had done no damage except to burn off their bonds.
Who was the fourth man? Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed that the fourth had the appearance of a son of the gods. Did he ever know how close he came to meeting the King of kings?
If you are facing a trial by fire, and you feel the immense temptation to appease those around you, remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Stand for Christ. The flames heating up around you might simply be there to burn the ropes keeping you in bondage.
If you do not bow the knee to your enemy, you will emerge unsinged at the end of the day. And you will have walked with the Son.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
The sound must have been a maddening echo that haunted him at first, tormented by the rooster’s crow that mocked his empty proclamation of loyalty. For three days, his faith lay in the grave with the Savior’s body, darkened by the memory of his public desertion.
Slightly Obsessed #188: Freedom
He was shouting “Freedom” as he plowed his car at twenty-one miles an hour into the granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments.
A video posted on the suspect’s Facebook page depicted the man in his car facing the monument as a women’s voice, presumably on a car radio, asked, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?”
Slightly Obsessed #187: He Reigns
Has a more beautiful declaration ever been written? Without that truth, we would have been forever lost to life. But because God had all authority firmly in His grasp, Satan had no chance of wresting the universe from Him. Because God reigns, Jesus could heal sickness, forgive sins, and conquer death. Because God is in control, evil was outwitted. Because He is Lord, there is power behind the words, “It is finished.”
Slightly Obsessed #186: When the Path Ahead Is Fearsome
The room was dark and shadowed, the only sound within its walls the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator beside my son’s bed. I sat on an uncomfortable chair jammed into one corner of the room. In the faint light that fell from the window across the pages of the Bible I held, I tried to corral my stampeding fears long enough to find some comfort from God’s Word. Outside the door of his room, a cacophony of voices from the nurses’ station jarred our shattered nerves.
Slightly Obsessed #185: Clean
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.
Slightly Obsessed #184: The Mark of Maturity
The infant finishes his bottle and smiles contentedly up at his mother. A trickle of milk courses down from the corner of his mouth. It’s a sweet scene because that’s what babies do. They are born with immature digestive systems and no teeth. Mother’s milk or formula are necessary for the child to survive and thrive. As they grow, their teeth begin to come in, their digestive abilities mature, and they can tolerate solid food.