Good afternoon everyone. My name is Tyler Binkley and this will be the first of many blog posts to come. To find out more about who I am, click here. The main audience for this blog is going to be students who are college age because this is the time when most young Christians (according to research) fall away from the faith. This blog will help college aged Christians remain on the straight and narrow path.
This past weekend, the college group at Lehman Avenue church of Christ and I had the opportunity to go the Arnold church of Christ Youth Rally held in Arnold, Missouri. The Youth Rally started Friday (August 7) and ended Saturday (August 8). Steven Hunter, who is the Associate Minister at Lehman Avenue, was the speaker and he preached a series of lessons from the book of Daniel that fell under the theme “Being Who God Wants Me To Be”.
One particular lesson that really stuck out to me was from Saturday morning and the title was: “When Things Get Hot”. The lesson text was centered around Daniel chapter 3. In this chapter we read about the ever so popular story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. In verse 3, we read where King Nebuchadnezzar had set up an image and verses 4-5 tell us: “Then the herald cried aloud, To You it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up;”.
Immediately we see a problem here. Idolatry. King Nebuchadnezzar has created this golden image and at the sound of a trumpet he wants everyone to worship it. In verse 6, we are told that if people choose not to worship the image when the trumpet is sounded, that same hour they are to be cast into a burning fiery furnace. Now dropping down to verse 12, King Nebuchadnezzar is informed that there are certain Jews who he appointed to be over Babylon by the names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego who are not worshiping this golden image. In his anger, King Nebuchadnezzar calls for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to come before him and he tells them in verse 15: “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 music, 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?”
Let me ask you this question. If you were standing before a high authority such as King Nebuchadnezzar, and were asked this same question, what would you say? Would you be fearful and bow before the image? Or stand up for God? I love the response that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego give in verse 16 about halfway through: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer thee in this matter” verse 17: “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 thy hand, O king.” Did you catch the assurance that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had in verse 17? They were certain that God would deliver them from the midst of the fiery furnace.
In verse 18 (and I’m paraphrasing) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego tell King Nebuchadnezzar that they would not be bowing to the image nor worshiping his gods. In his anger in verses 19-22, Nebuchadnezzar commands that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego be cast into the fiery furnace. We read in verse 22 that the fire was so hot that the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to the furnace were killed instantly due to the heat. Verse 24 we read that King Nebuchadnezzar is astonished because he sees not 3 but 4 people in the fiery furnace. The story is concluded when King Nebuchadnezzar calls for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and they walk out from the fiery furnace unscathed. When the other people saw this they were greatly astonished and in verse 29, King Nebuchadnezzar makes a decree that anyone who speaks evil against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego shall be cut into pieces and their houses shall be made a dunghill.
This lesson stuck out to me because in the world we live in today, it is so easy for us to compromise our faith. Especially on a college campus. It is so easy for us to support or do things that we know is not right. Why is that? It is due to the fear of being in the minority and not of the majority. However, think back to the story we just talked about. Do you think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were in the minority? Absolutely. Through their faith and trust in God however, they overcame the majority. This is how our faith as Christians should be today. We should not fear to be in the minority because as Christians, we are seeking a heavenly country. Not an earthly country.
We sing a song:
“This world is not my home I’m just a-passin’ through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
As Christians, let us not compromise our faith just because the world wants us to. Let us stand for the things that are far greater and that will help us reach a heavenly reward.
Arnold Youth Rally