A Challenge to God
by Jeff Curtis
At least two passages in the New Testament are relevant to the scene of the three friends of Daniel 3 and the fiery furnace. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for men to die once.” This passage is often quoted in regard to the certainty of death. While that application is valid enough, the author was trying to build the faith of people who were being persecuted; therefore, he was really saying something more assuring. Everyone has to die; but no one has to die twice. Also, Revelation 14:10-11 refers to idolaters who will be thrown into an eternal fire. Other passages in Revelation refer to this fire as the “the second death.” Daniel’s friends had something of this concept in their minds. They believed that their God could deliver them out of the fiery furnace alive; but they also knew that if He chose not to do so, He would still deliver them from a second death that would be certain if they violated His law and worshipped the idol.
In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar defiantly challenged God. He set up an image to be worshipped in contradiction to God’s commands. Man has been contradicting God ever since Adam and Eve violated His first commandments in the garden. Only the patience of God has spared any of us from the wrath which we have stirred (Romans 1:18).
Then, Nebuchadnezzar challenged God defiantly saying, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” Although this ultimately happened, the king didn’t believe it was possible. “Will God save?” is a challenge that, when spoken or silent, conscience or not, is asked by sinners. This challenge is to the grace of God.
Faith was challenged. The three Jews declared that God was able to save them in spite of appearances to the contrary. There is a difference between trying to “test the Lord your God” (Deut. 6:16) and declaring one’s faith in God to keep his promises. In and earlier day, Elijah had “reminded” God of His declaration that He would eventually shut off the rain if Israel turned to idols. At Elijah’s request God did just that. Earlier still, Moses had reminded God of His promise to make a great nation of the fathers. In effect, he challenged God to save a stubborn and rebellious people.
by Heath Rogers
An important theme woven throughout the book of Hebrews is the admonition to endure and remain faithful. Several of these admonitions are introduced with the phrase “let us.”
· Let us fear (4:1).
· Let us give diligence to enter our rest (4:11).
· Let us hold fast our confession (4:14).
· Let us draw near the throne of grace to find help (4:16).
· Let us go on to perfection or maturity (6:1).
· Let us draw near with purity and faith (10:22).
· Let us hold fast our confession without wavering (10:23).
· Let us consider and exhort one another (10:24).
· Let us lay aside every weight and let us run with endurance (12:1).
· Let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably (12:28).
· Let us go forth to Him (be willing to bear reproach with Him and for Him - 13:13).
· Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise unto God (13:15).