Close Encounters: Part 5
Well for a lot of us southern hunters, turkey season is in full swing. Have you had a close encounter with the king of spring this year? I hope so. I have been blessed to get close this year several times already and even harvest a couple. There is just nothing like it. However, the unseasonal high temperatures of the Deep South this past weekend made things difficult for hunting all day. Friday and Saturday my body temperature got to an all time high from turkey hunting. The high humid heat caused me also to drink more water than I ever have during a two day hunt. Folks it was hot!
As I think about heated moments and close encounters I think about the three Hebrew’s encounter with Jesus in the fiery furnace. These three young men took a stand for God and did not bow to the pagan king and his god’s. The three men were brought before the king and sentenced to death in the fiery furnace. This furnace or smelter is what the people of that day used to melt medals with to make weapons and other medal objects. The furnace was heated seven times hotter than normal and the three men were tossed in. The temperature was so hot that the guards, who threw the men in, were killed instantly. The air was so hot that their lungs were literally cooked. However, the three Hebrew men were not harmed and were seen walking around in the super heated furnace with a fourth man. That man was Jesus. Let us see how fiery times can bring us closer to the King of Glory.
Daniel 3. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. He (Nebuchadnezzar) answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Read this chapter in its entirety to see the whole sorry.)
The Faithful Four in the Midst of the Fire
I. Their Faithful Stand.
Instead of falling down and conforming to the ungodly ways of the world by worshipping Babylon’s king and his gods, these faithful few stood for the Lord.
A. We as Americans today have lost sight in what our fore fathers stood for and fought for. The country song by Aaron Tippin says it all, “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” We as Americans have fallen for almost everything. We have allowed our constitution to be torn into pieces and have lost sight of the principles that our great nation once stood for.
B. We as Christians today, at least those who claim to be Christians, have done the same. Churches today are all about self and not the Savior. Christians no longer stand for the principles of the Bible. Instead we fall to the world’s ideology and are conformed to the comforts of materialism. When any type of heated conversation or confrontation presents itself about anything related to Jesus and our faith we cower down like a whipped puppy. All through out the apostle Paul’s writings he encourages us to be bold in our belief and stand firm for the things of God.
II. Their Faithful Speech.
Verses 16, 17, and 18 are three of the most powerful and faithful verses in the entire Bible. The three Hebrew men basically told the Babylonian king that they were not going to worship him or his country’s gods. They said, “The God we serve is able to deliver us from the fire and out of your hand. And even if it’s in His will for us to die we want you to know this; we will NOT serve you or your gods!”
Does your speech magnify the Lord in this way? Do your everyday life conversations tell those that can here you that this is a child of God? Are you faithful enough to say, “God my life is yours and I will do anything for you even if it means I will loose my life in service you.” Is your faith in the Lord strong enough to say, “God I know you are able to do anything and can deliver me through any trial. However, if it brings you glory for me to die in this trial then so be it.” Now that’s Faith!
III. Their Faithful Savior.
This is such as amazing story! As the three Hebrew men fell into the super heated furnace they we insulated by none other than Jesus Himself. “The fourth is like the Son of God”. Jesus not only delivered them out of this impossible situation unharmed. Their clothing was not burned or did not even smell like smoke. What an awesome God we serve!
The one thing you can always bank on is our Lord’s faithfulness. We are not always faithful but He is. I cannot tell you the times I have fallen and my Lord caught me. Jesus is faithful in distributing His forgiveness, His grace, His goodness, His mercy, and many other things that the Bible promises that Christ will give. We, like the Hebrew men, can truly understand His faithfulness when we are in difficult and disturbing times. Most of the time God will not completely take away the problems in our lives, however; He will be there with us when we do go through the fiery times of life protecting us and encouraging us. This draws us closer to Him and builds up our faith.
Remember this, we serve a big God! He is able to do anything! No matter how hot the fires of life get, be faithful you Christian and take a stand for the Savior. No matter how heated life’s difficulties get, be faithful you child of God and magnify the Master. No matter how high the temperatures of life’s journeys get, be faithful you believer and lean on the Lord, because only He is able to deliver. You will come out of the flames being closer than ever to the Lord and your clothes wont even smell like smoke.
So remember this little story when things get heated up this turkey season as you approach the king of spring. Also, remember this little story when the fires of life get to hot for you to handle. Take a stand for God and the King of Glory will be waiting to get you through.
God Bless and Happy Hunting.
Posted by Mark Newell