Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I have been challenged recently to start looking at the Bible a little bit differently than I used to. Look at its stories from a different perspective. It's really amazing how we think we know a story from the Bible, because we've heard it in Sunday School and read about it in our lesson books. Why don't we look back in the Bible at these stories? Are we so inflated that we think we've gotten everything there is to know about them? Take Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Shane and Shane's most recent album has a song called "Burn us up", it's quite possibly their coolest song of all time, and it's about that story. But there's a point in the bridge where the lyrics say:

You are able to deliver from the fire of affliction
It's the declaration of my Lord
You're not an image of gold
You're the God of Old
You have made us, come and save us, we are yours
But even if you don't we will burn.
I decided to go back to Daniel and read this story from the Bible. This is what Daniel 3:16-18 says:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, But if not we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
We always look at this story as a great story of deliverance for God's servants, and it is, but I have never heard that part before: Even if God doesn't save us, we will not bow to you. They went there fully expecting to be burned alive for God, and they were ready and willing to. What a picture of obedience! For some reason, we tend to overlook that part of our stories. Even with Jesus. Most people, when you ask them why Jesus died on the cross, they will say it's because He loves them. And that is definitely true, I am not saying He doesn't, and that is definitely one of the reasons. But if you read any of the four gospel accounts, Jesus was praying to God beforehand, pleading for any other way. But, God planned only one way, and Jesus loved His Father so much, "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death-even to death on a cross." (Phillippians 2:8)
The ultimate picture of obedience was Jesus Christ. God, in the form of a man, resisting all temptation to do His Father's will and lay down His life for us on that cross. Can we really say we love God that much? That's where our obedience comes from: our love. Do you love God enough to lay down your life for Him? It's a difficult question to answer here in America. We can easily say of course we do, never have to think twice about it, because the odds are we'll never have to find out. If I can love God that much, what would anybody have on me? That's my challenge to myself. To increase my love for my heavenly Father, to the point where I can say with Paul "to live is Christ but to die is gain."
Sorry for the novel, but this has been stewing around in my head for a while...til next time.

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