1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are so glad you joined us again for this series of messages called, “Standing Firm in a World of Shifting Sands.”
3. In this series, we are looking at portions of the Book of Daniel which are particularly relevant to us today.
4. One of the lessons that we all seem to forget is this one:
5. we often stumble on the very blessings that we want.
6. Why do we do that?
7. Because we repeatedly forget that the times of blessings in our lives can be dangerous times.
8. Some of you may say, “Wait a minute. I thought blessings were good things.
9. How can blessings be dangerous?”
10. Well, I want to tell you why.
11. With every blessing comes a test.
12. What we often ignore is that, with blessings, comes clear choice.
13. Do I use this blessing as a stepping stone to go upward and onward, or, do I stub my toe on my blessings and fall flat on my face?
14. If you ask yourself that question every time you receive a blessing,
15. you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
16. We all know what school tests are supposed to accomplish.
17. Those students who are diligent and are prepared will succeed and move on to the next level.
18. Those who are derelict and negligent will fail.
19. It works the same way in spiritual tests.
20. If you are on your guard and always prepared, then you will progress to the next level of blessing with flying colors;
21. but, if you ignore the fact that a test comes with every blessing,
22. and delve into the blessing without thought for the test,
23. sooner or later, you’ll find yourself lying on the ground, crying, “Why didn’t I remember that with every blessing comes a test?”
24. In Daniel, Chapter 3,
25. we find Nebuchadnezzar stumbling all over his blessings.
26. We find him failing to recognize that, with the blessings from Jehovah God, came a testing time;
27. and, here, in Daniel, Chapter 3, we find him failing miserably.
28. By contrast, Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, will pass their tests with flags waving.
30. Because they were always prepared for testing time.
31. In fact, the most important thing about this incident of the fiery furnace was not only the miracle of deliverance,
32. the most important part of Daniel, Chapter 3, is not the fact that these three young believers walked through the fire without burning a single hair,
33. but the most important part of this incident is this:
34. these young believers did not compromise their convictions, even at the thought of death.
35. These young believers were tempted to go with the flow, but they refused.
36. These young believers had an opportunity to please man and fail God, but they chose to please God instead of man.
37. These young believers did not tolerate sin.
38. These young believers did not stumble over their blessing,
39. but they used their blessing as a stepping-stone to greater glory;
40. so, look with me at three things in Daniel, Chapter 3.
41. First, stumbling on God’s blessings in verses 1 to 15.
42. Secondly, standing on God’s promises, verses 16 to 27;
43. and, thirdly, sentimentality of cheap repentance in verses 28 to 30.
44. Let us look at the first, stumbling on God’s blessings.
45. In Daniel, Chapter 2, the King of Babylon had witnessed one of the great manifestations of God’s supernatural powers.
46. He saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears the power of Jehovah God.
47. He even said, “There is no God like Jehovah...”
48. but, instead of letting this blessing be a stepping stone into greater blessing, he allowed his pride to interfere.
49. He makes a grotesque statue of himself that was about 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide.
50. Nebuchadnezzar looked at that statue and said, “I am the greatest.”
51. Most of us, when we experience success, when we receive a great blessing from the hand of God, our natural inner thinking is, “I am God’s gift to humanity.”
52. We swell up with pride in ourselves.
53. In reality, what we are doing is stumbling over our blessing.
54. Like Nebuchadnezzar of old, we can see the hand of God, but we want to forget it and replace it with the hand of man;
55. so, the Babylonian despot said that everyone must bow to the image.
56. Many faithful Christians today face their own fiery furnace.
57. It is the furnace of being scorned.
58. It is the furnace of being ridiculed.
59. It is the furnace of being ostracized and ignored;
60. and so, first, we see the stumbling on God’s blessings.
61. Secondly, standing on God’s promises.
62. If you have your Bible, look at verses 16 to 27 of Daniel 3.
63. When the King said, “You bow down,” the three friends said, “We will not bow down.”
64. When the King said, “The whole empire bows down,” the three friends said, “We stand up.”
65. In many ways, our world is like that of Nebuchadnezzar.
66. The world is perplexed and troubled by those who would walk out on a lucrative business deal for moral reasons.
67. The world is perplexed and troubled by those who would rather stand up when everybody else is bowing down;
68. and, by doing this, they are hoping to persuade the faithful believers into bowing their knees to their idols;
69. but, when their persuasion does not work, they resort to greater punishment.
70. Listen to what the three friends said in verses 16 and 17.
71. Here is the problem with some modern day believers.
72. We sing, “God is able,” but, then, we live as if He’s not able at all.
73. We pay assent to the fact that He is able, but we never do anything to prove that we really believe that He is able.
74. These three friends stood on God’s promises.
75. My listening friend, what I am going to tell you is very important.
76. As long as the devil knows that we are not willing to sacrifice anything for God,
77. then he knows that we do not really believe that God is able.
78. As long as the devil knows that we are afraid to part with our comfort and our possessions and our reputations,
79. then the devil knows that we are only saying the words, “Our God is able,” but we do not really believe those words.
80. As long as the devil knows that we are afraid of physical death, he knows that we are not sure about the words, “Our God is able.”
81. Listen to verse 18.
82. “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
83. We have confidence because we are standing on the promises of God.
84. Standing on the promises of God is not just positive affirmation, but an unconditional surrender to the will of God.
85. Standing on the promises of God means standing firm and saying to the world, the flesh, and the devil, “We cannot be frightened.
86. We will not be anxious.
87. Our life is in God’s hands.”
88. My listening friends, let me tell you something very important.
89. When you take a stand like this, the devil will not only flee,
90. but you will have the most victorious and effective Christian life that you could ever have.
91. If and when you choose to truly believe the words of Jesus, you will be liberated like never before.
92. You will soar like an eagle, and you will run and not be weary.
93. The three friends said, “Our God is able.”
94. We must trust in His promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
95. We are anchored on the Rock of ages.
96. We are unshakable and immovable.
97. Even if we die, we will rule and reign over the universe with Christ in Heaven;
98. so we saw the stumbling on God’s blessing.
99. We saw the standing on God’s promises.
1. Thirdly, let us see the sentimentality of cheap repentance.
2. When the three friends were thrown into the fiery furnace, everybody was anticipating the odor of the burning flesh;
3. but, instead, the only ones who got burnt were the ones who threw them in;
4. but, as for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they were fine.
5. The place of pain became the place of joy.
6. The place of suffering became the point of glory.
7. The place of death became the garden of life;
8. but the King said,
9. “But I heated the furnace seven times. Why are they not burning?
10. And, also, I made sure only three were thrown in. Where did the fourth person come from?
11. And the fourth one does not look like anyone I’ve ever seen before.”
12. Oh, yes. Because He is the pre-incarnate Christ.
13. Because He is the Stone that is not cut with hands.
14. Because He has the Power to turn the fiery furnace in life into beautiful gardens.
15. The King said, “But I made sure that their hands and their feet were bound.”
16. Oh, but the ropes got burnt in the fire;
17. and, once again, Nebuchadnezzar concludes that Jehovah is the true God;
18. and, yet, his belief is mere sentimentality and not true conversion.
19. In verse 28, he said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.”
20. Ah, but you notice he did not say, “my Lord,”
21. because this was a cheap, temporary repentance without a change of heart.
22. What is happening here?
23. Nebuchadnezzar was merely licking his wounds, which his pride had inflicted on him.
24. You know, my listening friends, there are so many people who acknowledge God when they feel broken;
25. but they never truly surrender to God.
26. There are so many people who pray to Jesus when they need healing;
27. but they never receive Him as the Savior and Lord;
28. and the question to you is this:
29. do you truly trust in God?
30. Can you say, “I truly trust God?”
31. Okay, are you willing to use His blessings, not as stumbling blocks, but as stepping-stones?
32. Only you can answer that.
33. I will leave you with that question until next time, when I hope you will join us once again.
34. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessing.