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making the connection | June 3, 2018

June 4, 2018

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one that people may have at least a vague knowledge of. But not because we’ve spent much time studying it as adults. No, most of us know about this trio from Veggie Tales or Sunday School flannelgraphs. But that’s pretty crazy if you stop to think about it for a minute. We teach this story to kids and all but ignore it as adults. These guys were removed from their families, forced to assimilate into Babylonian culture, pressured to worship false gods or die, and were thrown into a fiery furnace when they refused. Definitely not G-rated.

Sure, this story has good lessons for kids. But it’s also, or maybe more, important for adults. Their actions and beliefs were being questioned. They were facing intense pressure to conform to what the king wanted – “do what I say or die” style pressure. But they trusted God and didn’t back down: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Talk about an extreme example of faith. Doesn’t that inspire and challenge you? Don’t you wish you could boldly trust God like that? Unfortunately, our anxious thoughts usually get in the way. We start to think about the “what ifs” and get so worked up that we don’t even trust ourselves, let alone God. During times like this we have to pause and focus on God’s truth: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

But we shouldn’t stop at verse 7 because it’s hard just to stop thinking anxious thoughts and pray about everything instead. So, in between prayers, what can we do? Take the advice found in the next two verses: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me –  put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

You know what’s true and pure and excellent? God. As we fill our heads with thoughts of God, what we know to be true about Him, and how we’ve seen Him work in our lives in the past, we will find that we trust Him more and more. We grow in our trust as we spend more time with God and get to know Him better. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God. They knew what He was calling them to do and that He was with them. That’s how they were able to trust Him. Our prayer this week should be that we grow in our relationship with God and come to trust Him more and more each new day. – Sarah Neel

  • If you struggle to trust God, especially because of anxious thought, spend some time engaging with Philippians 4:6-9. You can dig in and study the verses, think and pray about them, memorize them, or put them up somewhere you’ll see them throughout your day, whatever way of engaging works for you.
  • Spend some time reading Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s story in the book of Daniel. As you read, be encouraged and challenged by their strong example of trusting God and God showing His faithfulness to them. Their story starts in chapter 1, and you can read through chapter 3 to see them stand up to the king and trust God.
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