December 29

Daniel 3:17-18, 25 (NIV) 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18But 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."...

25He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

Nebuchadnezzar's dream went to his head. That was a pun. The head of gold was symbolic of him, so he made a 90-foot high gold statue. When his instrumentalists played, everyone had to bow and worship the image. Some think this is a foreshadowing of the image of the beast that the Antichrist will one day set up.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down, because they worshipped Jehovah alone. The king gave them a second chance. No doubt, he had heard of their faithful service and promotions Daniel had given them and knew the other officials were envious.

They told the king plainly, "Our God can save us, but if He does not, we still won't worship the image." Consider those words. God can work a miracle if He chooses. If He does not choose to, it shouldn't change our minds. What is right is right, regardless if God intervenes or if we suffer. Sometimes we insist that God work on our behalf. Do we have the conviction that if He chooses not to, that He knows what is best, even if we lose our business, loved one, or even our life? He is able! But we don't always know beforehand what He will do. Will we do what is right regardless of what God determines is best?

The furnace was heated 7 times hotter than normal. The guards that threw them in were killed from the heat. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were walking in the fire unharmed. The king saw a fourth man in the fire that appeared to be like a son of the gods. They came out without even the smell of smoke.

Meditation: Our God can deliver us, but if not, do what is right!

December 29

Revelation 19:6-8 (NIV) 6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

When the systems and governments of man have been judged and are no more, then the Lord God Almighty will reign over mankind. When that happens, there will be a mighty shout in the heavens, "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns." Praise be to God! The injustices and prejudices of man will cease. It is something we can really rejoice over. God has patiently let us try to run things for millenniums, but we have only shown what a mess we can make. Give Him glory for ending our ways and methods and establishing His righteous reign.

But there is another reason to lift up a shout of praise. The people of God, who are the bride of Christ, has made herself ready for her marriage to the Lamb. There is that dual work we see throughout Scripture. She has made herself ready. Yet, to her is given a robe of righteousness. Well, which is it? Was it her efforts to follow and submit to the Lordship of Christ, or the robe given her? The robe is her righteous acts, yet it is given her. He prepared in advance good works for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Rejoice and give Him glory. He is working through you to prepare you for the marriage. He will clothe you in bright, clean, and fine linen. The work He is doing in you will be completed, and you will forever be with the Lord. No death will ever part you two. You may kiss the Son. (Psalms 2:12)

Meditation: The story ends with a marriage to the coming King. Are you getting ready for that day?