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Below you’ll find my thoughts as they pertain to each portion of scripture we read this week. Come back on Monday when we’ll continue our study on Faith & Provision.
Week 3 Conclusion
As I was reading the scriptures, I couldn’t help but notice that these men pointed to God with every opportunity they had.
We see that faith has the power to direct others to repentance. It has the power to soften a heart and give strength to the weak. Faith has the power to protect us when all hope is gone, because faith opens the door for God’s provision and power.
Another thing that really stood out to me this week was how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren’t focused on being delivered from the fiery furnace as much as they were focused on following God’s will. I was reminded of this verse, and how everything that Jesus did was to bring glory to His Father in heaven:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. – Luke 22:42-44
I can’t help but be reminded of the many times I’ve prayed earnestly for something, while mumbling a little, “if it’s Your will,” in the middle of my prayer. The thing is that my heart hasn’t always been in the same place that my words have. I desperately want my will above anything else, and grudgingly accept His will as second best.
This study is a reminder to me that I need to grow in this area of my life. I need to be able to cherish God’s will in my life and find the value in it, even when I can’t find the reason.
1 Kings 18:16-45 – “Elijah and the Fire from Heaven”
It’s not hard to see that Ahab and his wife Jezebel were the wickedest king and queen that Israel ever had. We’re given a glimpse of that evil at the beginning of this chapter when we read how Jezebel had slaughtered the Lord’s prophets.
The Bible tells us that “Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than had all the kings of Israel who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:33) “All the kings” including Ahab’s father Omri who did more evil than all who were before him. And so, we see that this royal family was getting and worse as the years went by. The kings worshipped many false gods while the prophets of Baal and of Asherah ate at the queen’s table.
David Guzik writes, “Ahab believed that Elijah had angered the sky-god Baal and therefore Baal withheld rain. Ahab probably thought that Baal would hold back the rain until Elijah was caught and executed.”
What’s interesting to note is that Elijah was very clear about Who his God was. It’s not enough to believe in a higher power or to put your faith in “a god.” Elijah knew there was only One God. We see a lot of this in today’s culture as people seemingly worship “god” yet reject the truth of God’s word. Millions go as far as saying that we were created by God, we are the same as God, therefore we are God. Others say yeah, I believe in God, but I don’t believe in Jesus. To reject Jesus is to reject the Bible.
And so, Elijah set out to set the record straight. Collecting 12 stones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, he set up his altar, thus establishing the God of their forefathers. Praying he said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.”
Elijah took every opportunity to attribute this miracle to the Lord. Standing before them, he prayed, “Answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
They weren’t turning their own hearts to the Lord. Elijah wasn’t turning their hearts to the Lord. GOD was turning their hearts, and Elijah made sure the people knew that.
Remember how in previous weeks we saw God use the small and the few to display His glory and honor? In much the same way, we see that happening here as Elijah douses the fire with water again and again and again. By doing this he removes any trace of faith in the power of kindling or the heat of the day. By doing this he points every witness to the mighty power of God and His strength alone.
Daniel 6:1-26 “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”
What I loved about the story of Daniel is that his faith in God was strongly connected to his prayer life. We’re told that he prayed three times a day. So blameless before others that this was the only way they could trap him.
Imagine being so blameless before God and others that the only snare one could find was your faith. And I don’t mean religious. If religion is filling you with hate, pride, and strife you’re not walking blameless, you’re walking in sin. I’m talking about an intimate relationship with God peppered with powerful prayer, laced with obedience, and grounded in faith.
Daniel served God by humbling himself in His presence time and again. That’s what prayer does–it brings us down to our knees in submission to God. And what does God do for the humble? The Bible tells us that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.
His name, meaning “God is my judge,” is the motto that Daniel lived by. We see an unshakable faith, as he was willing to lay down his life for the sake of his Lord.
I’m reminded of Acts chapter 5 when Peter and the other apostles stood before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. They had been strictly ordered not to teach in Jesus name.
“We must obey God rather than human beings,” they said.
Like Peter and the apostles, Daniel knew that his life was at risk, but he also knew that regardless of what happened to his body here on earth his spirit belonged to God.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28
Faith in God is hope in a future beyond the scope of this world. That mindset is built by hearing the Word of God, and by humbling ourselves before God, so that we might receive that Word.
Faith teaches us to serve God without abandon and to trust Him regardless of what comes our way. Even if we’re stepping into the most daunting circumstance, we’ll always find rest in the knowledge that He’s in control.
Daniel 3:1-30 “A Fourth Man in the Fire”
What really stood out to me in this chapter was the depth of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith. They didn’t merely believe in God and Who He was, they trusted His wisdom regardless of how it affected their life.
We often pray expecting God to answer our prayers according to our will. When He doesn’t answer our way, or as quickly as we want Him to, some get discouraged. Some even give up praying altogether thinking, what is the point–God doesn’t listen.
Faith leans on the wisdom of God. They knew that God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, but if He didn’t they would still be faithful to Him. Why? Because they trusted in the wisdom of God.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – Daniel 3:17-18, NIV
Think about the trials in your own life. Are you willing to trust God if they don’t go your way? Or does a part of you suspect that you could handle this better than God? Is your heart in the same place as your words are? If not, pray asking God to humble you as you accept His will for your life.
What I learn from the fourth man in the fire is that Jesus walks beside me when I put my trust in Him, yet not only when I put my trust in Him but when I walk with Him. As John says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
If you’re going to have the depth of faith to get you through this, you need to be walking in righteousness. Because those who walk in righteousness walk with Christ.
Maybe you’d like to weigh in? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
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That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday for Week 4 of Faith & Provision.
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
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