Tag Archives: compromise

We Dance To A Different Tune

Peninsula Community Church 

August 25, 2019 

Daniel 3:15-18 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

I have entitled this message “We dance to a different tune.” It is noteworthy that the idiom “dance to a different tune” means to change one’s behavior, manner, and attitude. This is a big deal because when we follow Christ passionately we will find that our behavior and attitude changes to match His desire for us. To dance to a different tune means that we align ourselves to His purposes and His goals. Tony Evans has stated “In order to transform what you do, you must first transform how you think.” Therefore, we could say that we need to dance to the tune of right thinking which produces right action. 

For the Hebrew Children they were passionate about following their God and they danced to a different tune. However, this came at a price, but they were willing to pay the price and dance the dance. Because of their relationship with God they had their thinking in the right place and their actions followed. Because their thinking was in the right place, the three Hebrew Children served the Lord and they were obedient to what they had been called to do. 

They did so because they knew something key to their success, we all worship something or someone. It all depends on what we choose. They chose to worship God and put the Kingdom of God first not just in their speech but in their actions. Bob Dylan the great poet and the confused religious guru understood this when he wrote the following lyrics. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes. Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody. This is a powerful truth. We all come to an intersection in our life where we must choose who or what we will worship. We will worship God or we will worship man, worship things, success or any other number of things that will seek to take the place of God.

But how did they get to this place in time. You see, because Israel had sinned and disobeyed God’s will, God allowed Jerusalem to fall into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon. Many were taken from Israel as captives to serve Babylon. Among those taken to Babylon were young Israelites who were of noble birth and from royal families. They were to be trained in the ways of Babylon. Four of those taken to Israel were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Once in Babylon, their faith was tested and they passed the faith test with flying colors. While they did learn the culture, there was one area of their life they would not change and that was their relationship with God. When asked to worship a graven image and a false god they chose to worship God and Him alone. They were not willing to change their allegiance to God. We must note that as a church and as passionate followers of Christ we are to engage the culture in which we live, but we must never compromise our faith in Christ. We must not change our dance partner as tempting as it might be to do so.  

Daniel had his lion’s den moment and now the three Hebrew Children were about to encounter their fiery furnace. It did not matter what they encountered, the fate of the Hebrew Children was sealed in favor of serving God no matter what. It is important to understand this was a decision that had been made long before this moment in time. For that reason, this was not a difficult decision. They chose to go against the tide and they refused to bow their knee to the god’s of Babylon. 

Too often we encounter difficulty and then we want to engage the disciplines that protect us, but that can come too late. We can be sucked into sinful ways if we do not engage with the disciplines of Christ. Conversely, we must be engaged in the disciplines of Christ long before we encounter difficulty. We must be people of prayer, of worship, and must have a commitment to Christ before we face difficulty. In so doing, we will be conditioned for whatever we encounter. Think about it. Before war our armed forces prepare and drill. Firefighters drill and run through scenarios during training sessions. Football teams practice and prepare for the season and for every opponent they face. They consider different scenarios they will face and how they must answer those situations. By engaging in prayer, worship, and the study of God’s word our spiritual man is conditioned for whatever scenario to be faced in this world. 

Because of their commitment to Christ and their ongoing focus on worship and prayer the question of compromise was never a thought in their decision making process. You see this as being critical since compromise begins when we do not know where we stand and we try to fake our way through the process. For many, when asked to bow could have led to compromise, but the Hebrews did not. They could have bowed in the physical as an outward show but they did not. It might have been easier, but it would have started a slide toward compromise. Those who have fallen from grace too often have been captivated by sin. They do so most often through a series of smaller steps of compromise. In general, compromise has never happened in an instant. But the Children of Israel did not compromise. They knew their God and they knew their purpose in the Kingdom of God. They refused to compromise and settle for less than God’s best. 

Second, our worship of God cannot be deterred by the fear of outside influences. Their desire to serve and worship God was greater than their fear of the king. Their desire to serve and worship was greater than their own self-exaltation. How often are we deterred from obedience to God because we are filled with fear and anxiety of what people think or a desire to make a name for ourselves? How many times do we fail to trust the outcome to God? 

Third, the Children of Israel had a confidence that God wanted to keep them and preserve them. This is seen through their response of being thrown into the furnace. They experienced a so what moment. They may have had questions but that did not deter them from obedience. What if we are burned up? What if we are just burnt and we find that we are disabled for the rest of our life? Here is a big one. What if God doesn’t show up? These were real questions, but because they had lived in the reality of God’s presence they knew God would rescue them. Corrie Ten Boom was quoted as saying. Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

And now, here is the crux of the matter. Four, they experienced God’s presence in worship long before they experienced God’s presence in the fiery furnace. They danced to the music of worship and the reality of God’s presence. This holy dance of worship kept them from compromise and kept them from falling for the oldest scheme of the devil, give a little which requires a little more which leads to more and more compromise. While we see the power of the three Hebrew Children also notice the response of the king. He was filled with fear. He was angry. He was surprised at the power of God. He depended on himself. Nebuchadnezzar was dancing to a different tune. He was dancing to the tune of pride and self exaltation. 

Let’s look at the end of the story. God came through, end of story. Because the three Hebrew children refused to compromise, God showed up. Because they had committed themselves to worship and trust in God, God came through. Their world was rocked. God showed up and the men did not even smell like smoke. This is surprising for a couple of reasons. First, because of Nebuchadnezzar’s anger he had the furnace heated up seven times more than normal. Second, the men who tossed them into the furnace were destroyed instantly (Daniel 3:22). And thirdly, they were bound in their tunics, their hats, their other garments (Daniel 2:21). This alone would have caused them to be consumed by the fire, but they were fully protected by God. 

Everyone were surprised at the outcome. Everyone was changed because God showed up. As we worship God alone, we are positioned for God’s work to be accomplished through us and to experience the surprises of God. Rather than tell the story listen to Daniel’s word as he describes this event in Daniel 3:24-28. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

Their faith and their obedience changed them but it changed the world they encountered. Nebuchadnezzar in the end danced to a different tune because he witnessed the miracle of God in real time. So are you ready to worship? Are you ready no matter what comes? Are you ready to change the world as they see God at wok in you? 

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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Focusing on God in the Midst of the Struggle

Peninsula Community Church

February 5, 2017

Focusing on God in the Midst of the Struggle 

Daniel 3:24-25; 28 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods”… Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

Last week we looked at the promise given to the Children of Israel as it related to their captivity in Babylon. This week we will look at one of the stories that occurred during the captivity and how the promise of God was fulfilled even in the midst of the captivity. As always, we must look at the back story so we can understand the story before us even better. When the Babylonians carried the Children of Israel into captivity they desired to indoctrinate the young people in the ways of Babylon. They envisioned winning the people of Israel by winning the hearts and minds of the children.

While this was their desire they had not figured on the number of youth whose faith in God would always trump anything that the Babylonians would try to do to them. We will see that in this story and in the story of Daniel that the Babylonians tried to change their perspective but that would not work as they had fully committed their way to the Lord. The fact is, the Hebrew children were not willing to give themselves to the ways of Babylon. Rather than live by a way of life that would leave them empty and longing for more they did not compromise their beliefs or their way of life.

In this story, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, built a statue that was to worshipped by the people of Babylon and the Hebrew captors. This was motivated by his pride and his arrogance as he believed that he was a god. As we see in the story, while everyone else bowed their knee to worship the statue the three Hebrew children did not. In fact, they refused to bow down which led them to be judged and subsequently they received a judgement against them.

As we review this story, we find that there were at least three tools used against them. The first tool used was the tool of false accusation. The Chaldeans came to destroy the three Hebrew children’s integrity and their standing in Babylon. In Daniel 3:8, we see they maliciously accused the Jews. The problem was that the Chaldeans were jealous of what the King had done for the Jews in that he had elevated the Israelites to positions of power often at the expense of the Chaldeans and men of Babylon. Their goal was to remove them from power by falsely accusing them. You see they did not just accuse them but they did so with an intent to get rid of them and to neutralize their effectiveness.

As we discussed last week, there is never a lack of people to try and tear us down. There will always be accusers in our life. We are accused by the enemy. We are accused by others. Sadly, we are also accused by ourselves. Have you ever noticed for example that when you are sad or down there will be those who think you are too sad and others who think you are not sad enough. You cannot please others and that often results in accusation most often founded in false truth. It is interesting that when trouble comes there is always someone around to accuse us and try to convince us there is no hope and that we should just submit to whatever issue we face. These accusers were no different. They wanted to create an atmosphere to discourage and defeat the faith of the Hebrews but they failed big time. They could not deter their faith nor could they defeat the Hebrew children.

The second tool used against the Hebrews was compromise! You see if the Hebrews only bowed their knee and followed the commands of the King everything would have been good. They would not have had to suffer the judgment that was to come but they chose to suffer death rather than compromise what they believed. Most often you can know that you face an attack of the enemy when there is a push to compromise the truth of the gospel and what you believe.

The fact is the enemy always wants us to compromise what we believe and what we stand for but in this story faith and trust in God prevailed. Rather than compromising they stood strong in their faith. The goal of compromise is to get us to diminish our faith and to begin to trust in everything but God. They refused to compromise because they had an unmovable faith in God. This is witnessed in the statement they made before being thrown into the fiery furnace. “God is able to deliver us. He will deliver us. And if He doesn’t we will not worship your gods.” That is the faith we need. We know God can deliver us but even if he doesn’t we will not stop serving him or believing in him. That is true faith.

The words of the Hebrew children are reminiscent of Paul’s words in Corinthians when he made the following observation. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

The third tool used by the enemy is intimidation! The King did two things to create an atmosphere of intimidation. First of all, he had his men turn the heat up seven times the normal heat. Have you ever noticed how the heat is turned up when you are walking through difficult times? There is great pressure and the heat of the problems you face cause you to take a step back. Secondly, the king ordered his mighty men to bind them before they were thrown into the furnace. The point of the intimidation was to cause them to give up and surrender their belief. Think about this. We have three young teenage boys being obedient to God and He sends them some of the biggest and most powerful men in his army to bind them. It seems like overkill but that is what the enemy does. He tends to do overkill in every aspect of our life to force us to become depressed or discouraged.

As we read the story while we see the tools used by the enemy we also see God’s intervention. The three Hebrew children I am sure would have desired that God would have intervened and kept them from the furnace but instead God allows the Babylonians to throw them into the fiery furnace. Being thrown into the furnace was not the end of the story because even in the furnace God chose to deliver them in a big way! We see at the end of this that God had a greater plan. The plan was to reach those in Babylon.

As we review the story we see that God did so much more than just intervene. Notice what the King and his men witnessed what they returned to the furnace the next day. They saw four men who were unbound and they were walking around in the fire. The miracle was that they were not hurt in anyway. In fact, they saw a fourth person in the furnace that looked a whole lot like God. In fact, we know now that it was the Son of God. He had intervened and made a way of enduring the fiery furnace at all cost. I can promise you today that God will intervene and make a way of escape for you. Sometimes it means that we are able to endure the trouble we face. You see the three Hebrew children were not delivered from the furnace but they were delivered in the furnace. How powerful that is and how encouraging it is when we face all kinds of difficulty in our life that God will deliver us?

Here is what we know. God was present with them. God’s presence in the furnace made all of the difference in the world. He was with them and He protected them. He guarded them. His presence brought comfort, protection, and deliverance in the midst of their greatest difficulty. It is noteworthy that God did not keep them from the furnace but He certainly met them in the furnace. That is God’s mode of operation. He either delivers us from the furnace or He meets us in the furnace. We will not know His plan until we encounter the events of our life that require an intervention. As promised in Joshua, God will never leave us or forsake us. God is always there.

We also know that God delivered them from the effects of the fiery furnace. They were in the furnace but they were not effected by the fiery furnace. Look at this, the fire had no power over them. Their hair was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and there was no smell of smoke on them. God had delivered them from the effects of the furnace and He wants to deliver us from the effects of the accusations and intimidation offered to us by the enemy of our souls. How many of us are effected by past events that have shaped and formed who we are today. Notice that physically they were not negatively effected. The lesson is the issues we face do not have to define us. We can navigate the issues of our lives without being harmed by the power of the test. As Paul stated in Romans “If God is for us who or what can be against us.”

Finally and most important, God brings redemption. In this story, we see the redemption of the King. Through this amazing story Nebuchadnezzar honors God and acknowledges God as God. In fact Nebuchadnezzar is so moved by this event, he declares that God is the one God and that He is worthy of praise. The purpose of trials is for us to honor God and then to assist others in honoring God. It is noteworthy that Nebuchadnezzar is not changed immediately, but God uses this and other opportunities to reveal Himself. I am so glad for the redemption that comes from God and how He uses the trials of our lives to touch others and to bring them to a point where they recognize the power of God. If God can turn the heart of a wicked King He can touch every person around us for His glory.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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