Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

How to Handle Persecution (Part 1)

Please turn in your Bibles to Daniel 3:13-18:

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

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?

Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

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.

PRAYER

Today, we are continuing our series on how to handle persecution. Our passage for today is from the familiar story of Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to the statue which Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to deny their God and give in to the pressure that Nebuchadnezzar was putting on them. Their faith and their display of courage offer three important lessons for us as we deal with the issue of persecution.

I. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to stand out in the crowd. The Bible tells us that Nebuchadnezzar had called together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” The Bible tells us that when these people were gathered together a herald announced that when music was played they were all to bow down and worship the golden image.

Now, because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Hebrews, they could not bow down and worship the king’s image because that would have been in violation of God’s laws for the Jews which expressly forbid them from worshipping idols. So, these Hebrew men who had gathered with the rest of the official leaders of the empire stayed standing when the music was played. They stood out in the crowd. Some would say that they stuck out like a sore thumb.

As believers, we have to be willing to stand up for Jesus. Even though it is so much easier to blend in and conform to what everybody else is doing around us, God wants us to be faithful to Him even in the face of fiery furnaces.

II. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a made up mind. Some of the Babylonians noticed that the three Hebrews did not bow down to the image, and reported it to King Nebuchadnezzar. When Nebuchadnezzar heard it, the Bible says he was furious, and He commanded for them to brought to him. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego got before the king, the king offered them another chance to bow down before his image.

Notice what the Hebrews said?: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” The word “careful” means to take your time in making a decision, to ponder the issue fully before answering. But the Hebrews here said they did not have to be “careful” to answer the king. They were already prepared with an answer. They had already made up their minds that they were not going to bow down to the image, and they had already decided how they would answer the king. These three Hebrew had a made up mind.

God wants us to have the same determination when we face the fiery furnaces of persecution in our own lives. We should not leave the door open for any other answer but to stay true to our God.

III. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego left the end result in God’s hand. In verses, 17 and 18, the Hebrews told the king, “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.”

Because they already had a made up mind regarding what they were going to do, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not worry about what would happen to them. They trusted God to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and they also were prepared to accept the fact that God may choose not to deliver them from the fiery furnace. That took an enormous amount of trust in God.

When you face a fiery furnace in your life, commit to doing what is right, and leave the end result in God’s hands. He may deliver you from the fiery furnace, and He may not. But if you trust God, you don’t have to worry about the outcome. You just stay true to God, and God will work out everything for your good and according to His perfect will.

Now, if by chance, you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to share with you how you can accept Jesus Christ into your heart and life today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”.

God bless you.