By Pr Isaiah White
Wars of the gods
In the book of Daniel (Chapter 3), we are told about king Nebuchadnezzar, who ordered for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, to be thrown in the fire for refusing to bow to his gods.
In Babylon, there were dominant gods and worship systems that were spiritual and constitutional in those ancient days.
At that time, gods were not just tribal, but national. The capture of Israel and Judah by the Babylonians proved that their gods had defeated Israel’s God altogether.
To the Jews, however, this defeat and captivity meant a faith failure on their part.
They thought God could not fight and defeat the enemy troops for people who did not believe and worship Him.
It was painful for the Jews to be in exile under the charge and power of these foreigners, and their foreign gods.
The captives had their faith and religious belief subjected to a critical challenge in which insisting on Yahweh worship meant worshipping a failed God.
Opting for the worship of foreign gods meant surrendering to the powers of these gods. Therefore, establishing them as the true gods in contrast to the one, true and living God.
In Daniel 3, the Babylonian kingdom conducted national prayers where everyone in that kingdom (free or captive) was asked to bow down and worship the national gods.
However, as the prayers commenced, it was noted that three Jewish boys were not complying as well as the others.
This was brought to the attention of the king who got furious (Daniel 3:13).
Those disobedient Jews were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were also captives. For these Jews not to participate in a national cause was a rebellious act.
They rebelled spiritually, communicating that the Babylonian national gods did not deserve anyone’s worship.
These Jews committed treason politically and religiously. For that reason, they were punished by being thrown into fire (Daniel 3:15).
Faith in the fire
The king and the council ruled against the accused, but they were still not apologetic for not bowing to foreign gods.
Instead, they preached that their God would rescue them from fires.
The Babylonians might have been questioning how a God of captives who failed to save them before was going to save them from punishment.
But the three knew that the God of the captives was not a captive, and they decided to place their faith in Him.
Their faith in action was exhibited in their language when they said: “The God we serve will save us, but even though He does not save us from these fires, we shall still serve and worship Him alone and only” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Faith in God is not conditioned to our welfare, but to who He is and His glory.
The Jews were thrown into fire, but the God they placed their faith in stood with them in there and protected them against harm.
God is with us
God is able to deliver captives because He is not one. He will be with you in whatever captivity you might be in, but He is not a captive; that is how He is able to get you out.
Whatever captivity you might have suffered or may be suffering right now, there is a God who is neither a captor nor a captive. He has the power to deliver you.
When the Babylonians threw these three Hebrew believers who put their faith in action into the fiery furnace, they noticed that there were four individuals who were walking in the fire without getting consumed (Daniel 3:24-25).
When we put our faith in God, He stands with us even when we are thrown into the fieriest of fire.
There are many believers who have trusted God during challenging times and He has stood with them amidst the fires of life.
In the prophecy of Isaiah, God promised this to all believers who put their faith into action: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. “When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
“For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west (Isaiah 43:1-5).”
The writer is a life coach and theologian.
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