Sometimes we are sent to what seems like an undesirable place, and it’s for a long time. No one else is born again. The environment is hostile to us and our faith (regardless of countless professions, sometimes). We are continually tested to see if we meet the requirements that others do not have to meet. People in this place can change the game on us when they get ready. They want us to fail. Then, God favors us in the undesirable place. He sets us apart so much that it becomes glaringly obvious that we are different. To some who wait for our demise it is made clear that we have help from another Way. We are the excellent choice–more suitable for position, more knowledgeable about the task, and when in a crunch that could jeopardize our good standing if we fail, GOD reveals secrets to us. We are purposed to remain in an ungodly place, but we are there with the advantage–the tangible presence, power and intercession of God.
Well…welcome to Babylon, the place of exile for three young men we call “the Hebrew boys.” They are Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego). This is their story. After they were tested, proved, and found worthy, they faced a huge challenge: worship God, worship the king, or worship God and the king.
The solution might seem obvious to us, but it is a challenge to stand with the unseen eternal and believe. Before promotion there may be the kind of challenge that forces us to decide who is our LORD. You and I like to believe that because we are born again we will always worship God. We like to think that worship will be our absolute first response.
Then, there is the sabotage that sets us up, paints us as guilty and threatens to destroy us by fire. This fire is allowed by God, but meant by citizens of Babylon to reduce us to nothing. Here, we can choose to meet the requirements and worship the king. Or, we worship God. These young men worshiped God and expressed confidence in His ability to deliver them from the fire. In the fire they walked free and again had the advantage because the LORD was present with them and shielded them.
Protection came from the chief, the king of Babylon. (In retail it’s called an override.) Nebuchadnezzar saw them free in the fire. He saw the fourth man. He realized his lesser power to their greater God, used that power to release the young men, and make a new decree. Whoever spoke in error against the God of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah would be 1) cut in pieces and 2) their homes made a dunghill because no other God could deliver like this (Daniel 3:29).
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:30
Note that deliverance meant a sign, wonder and miracle in the fire through the example of these young men. Also, note what deliverance did not mean. These men did not get a green light to leave Babylon. They did not change cities or jobs. No, they were given more responsibility. They were promoted in Babylon. The king recognized their loyalty to worship their God, and rewarded them with promotion. There are times when meeting the requirement creates more chaos, but peace and promotion come with making a bona fide stand for God.
In 3 days, we begin Esther’s Call II. We will look closely at the purpose for promotion. I hope you make time to join us the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, starting May 1st.8PM Central (218) 862-6400 * Access code 6360503