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Dying to Live

Posted on Tue, Feb 10, 2009

Can you embrace the will of God in the face of a blazing fire into which you might be committed if you do not do the will of man? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. They emptied themselves of all earthly privileges and accepted to be tied and thrown into a blazing furnace instead of doing the will of a Babylonian idol-worshipping king. They trusted God above the fury of the blazing furnace and beyond the rage of a selfish king. When they came face-to-face with death, they entrusted their lives to God. Their story is an interesting testimony of determined people who knew their God and remained true to him regardless of the consequences. It is a lesson worthy of imitation that to accept the will of God we must wholly and fully die to self and the flesh and totally "put on the Lord Jesus Christ."

Self, or “the flesh”, as the bible calls it, is man’s number one enemy. It is arrogant, unfeelingly proud, very conceited, and wholly egotistic. The flesh wants everything in the world to evolve around “it”, and desires to haughtily dominate the world. In its vanity, the flesh would like the world to last forever. Therefore, it preoccupies with building itself a name, minimizing the virtues of others, trashing and mindlessly dumping their achievements, while it continues to extol itself above them, and might even wish that it be worshiped. Pitifully, this describes the attitude of a Babylonian king – Nebuchadnezzar- who issued a decree calling for a national worship of his god. He threatened those who defied his orders with death in a blazing furnace, and actually committed three Hebrew boys into a fiery furnace. Pride always leads to a fall.

 

Every Christian wants to do the will of God and should. But how many of us are willing to die to self or the flesh? How many of us will accept being singled out for punishment, or risk death to accept God’s will? May be embracing the will of God might change your societal status, or you might even be shamed, or even disgraced among your friends. Perhaps, you might even loose your livelihood. How seriously to you is accepting the will of God? In God’s economy, self with all its esteems and fantasies must die first and be utterly buried in humility as it yields to the will of God who is able to enliven and set it on high so it can live within his will.

 

 A prime example of “dying to live” is the story of courage found in Daniel chapter three, told about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were removed from their homes in Israel and held captives by king Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. There they found favor with Nebuchadnezzar who made them provincial leaders in the land of their captivity. Above “their fellows” they enjoyed the privileges that came along with their positions. But when they courageously took a stand against the command of king Nebuchadnezzar to worship an idol that he had set up, Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude towards them changed. He pressured them to bow to his god, but they would not budge; instead, they audaciously embraced death. 

Can you embrace the will of God in the face of a blazing fire into which you might be committed if you do not do the will of man?  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. They emptied themselves of all earthly privileges and accepted to be tied and thrown into a blazing furnace instead of doing the will of a Babylonian idol-worshipping king. They trusted God above the fury of the blazing furnace and beyond the rage of a selfish king. When they came face-to-face with death, they entrusted their lives to God. Their story is an interesting testimony of determined people who knew their God and remained true to him regardless of the consequences. It is a lesson worthy of imitation that to accept the will of God we must wholly and fully die to self and the flesh and totally "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." 
 

In the fire, God unbound Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and placed them in the happy and comfortable presence of his son. They were untouched, unscratched and unharmed by the deadly fire. No human can tie us up when God wants us to be free. God’s delivering might, his limitless power and ever-present help will be with us in trouble. And he will deliver us and honor us.

 

 

Stop and think of the bravery of these three Hebrew boys. They could have thought of their loved ones that they would miss; or their land to which they might never return or even their privileged positions in Babylon which they would loose and thus, put off to obey God and so, please the king who had previously favored them. No rationalization! They gave up every cosmic pleasure and embraced the will of God. Praise God!  

 

My friend let nothing stand against your resolve to do the will of God – not your family, vocation, position in the society, business or even death itself. And if you are haughty; if there is no room for humility or God in your “world”, dear friend, stop and learn from Nebuchadnezzar. God specializes in disappointing “the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.” Job 5:12-13

Can you honestly say today: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

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