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Thursday: The Secret of Such a Faith — 9 Comments

  1. There is a very interesting corollary to the story of the fiery furnace. In spite of the miraculous escape from being burned to death, that is the last we hear of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. One may have thought that having had such a miracle performed they would go on to make a significant contribution to Hebrew history, but the pages of both the Bible and secular history don't mention anything they did after that event.

    However it is interesting to note that the Babylonian captivity represented a turning point in Jewish history. As a nation, they had lost their vision of the importance of their relationship with God and they were captured by the Babylonians. We are fairly certain that during the time of this captivity, the procedures were put in place for the preservation of the sacred writings of the Jewish people. It is my proposition that the miracle of the fiery furnace set the scene for the protection of the Hebrew captives so that they could establish schools (synagogues) and establish learning practices that would ultimately preserver their heritage.

    Read what is says at the end of Daniel 3

    Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
    Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:29,30

    One conclusion I draw from this was that the miracle was not to save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from a painful death, but to set up a situation that would help to preserve the Word of God. And that was the real miracle.

    When I think of how we view miracles we often have in the back of out minds, the question, "What is in it for me?" We pray for the miracle of healing, for understanding, for finding lost car keys, and for finding a parking space and so on, as though a miracle was some benefit to us, rather than as part of the big picture that God has for us.

    • Maurice, what you are saying is at the same time a very difficult paradigm shift for us to make as humans and a very necessary one to make.

      I really hope the point you are making is able to be seen by as many people as possible. It is a vitally important point that impacts our view of God and in turn our daily Christian walk. Yet it is also a point that is rarely explicitly mentioned. Perhaps Satan would rather we keep our ego-centric view?

      TO ALL SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS AND PARTICIPANTS ALIKE: please raise and discuss this point in as many Sabbath School classes as possible across the worldwide church this coming Sabbath. A clear understanding of this point/issue has very practical implications for our daily walk.

      A suggestion would be to read/share Maurice's post with your class and then ask class members to give their opinion as to whether they agree or disagree - and why.
      Then ask, if what is being proposed is true, what practical differences might it make in how we make sense of and cope with situations in our lives when things don't seem to turn out.

    • Yes, faith is shown by our attitudes towards little and great things happening to our own lives. We have limited wisdom to see exactly what is in the future for us, but if we have faith, we pray and ask God, but we also rest on His decisions for us. He always knows better. And although our plans do not always turn out the way we think they should, we have to keep in mind that may "His will de done" (isn't that how we were taught to pray?). His plans are perfect for each one of us. Jesus always answers us, our duty is to accepet His answers!
      So faith may be to rest in Jesus, in God.

  2. What is faith?

    Faith is what we believe in.

    Believe about what?


    From the day you were born, your subconscious mind has been trying to make sense of everything that happens to you and around you. This is referred to by various names including your world-view, frame-of-reference, etc. Because it is an activity initiated by your subconscious, most people don't stop and consciously evaluate the world view they are forming or have formed. That is why most people's world-view is implicit in nature - it just is and goes unquestioned.

    I believe Paul was aware of this human vulnerability when he wrote Romans 12:2. Each of us already has been conformed to the pattern of this world - to a world-view that incorporates principles and practices that are out of harmony with those necessary for abundant life (John 10:10).

    John 1:4 tells us that Jesus was/is The Source of (true, abundant) Life and that this life was/is the Light of men. John 1:5 then contrasts this light with darkness - and in fact this contrast is a major theme right throughout the book of John. What is John saying?

    Right from the outset, the Kingdom of Darkness has been deceptively misportraying how reality operates. In His 'foreknowledge', God informed Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:17 that if they exercised their freedom to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the reality of what was involved in doing so would mean that Adam and Eve would place themselves out of harmony with the reality of how eternal life operates and in doing so instead embrace the reality of how death operates. Satan instead proposed that God was lying and that the Adam and Eve would instead enter an even higher state of living (Genesis 3:4,5).

    Jesus, on the other hand - as The Source of life - knows better than anyone else how the reality of life works. In conjunction with Jesus coming to earth to secure salvation for humanity and to reveal the true nature and character of God, Jesus also came to reveal (ie, shine light on) the truth about how the reality of life operates.

    Thus we have Satan's (mis)portrayal of how the reality of life (allegedly) operates versus Jesus true revelation of how reality operates. This is essentially what the Great Controversy is about: who is telling the truth and therefore who is truthful and can in turn be trusted?

    So, in a nutshell, faith is what we actually believe about whose view of reality is the true one and therefore the one we will 'live' by. While many people would offer Hebrews 11:1 as the definition of faith, I find Romans 4:21 a better functional description of what faith actually is. And if we read on to Romans 4:22 we find that 'justification' is in practice our 'realignment' from Satan's distorted view of how reality allegedly operates to God's true view of reality - not just by mental ascent, but also by living in accordance with the view that we believe to be true reality.

    If we take the time to dig behind phrases, we will find functional realities that actually make sense and have very practical application to our daily life.

    • The misconception of God’s FOREKNOWLEDGE has led to false conclusions about God Himself, His purposes, and His creation. God’s foreknowledge cannot be His *looking” into the future and discovering what happens there. That would make Him a much better seer/prognosticator than Nostradamus and others, but not sovereign. Note that whatever has happened was part of the Creator’s plan, or it would not have occurred (Prov 16:1,9; 19:21; 20:24; Ps 37:23; Jer 10:23; James 4:15; Ps 33:10,11; Isa 14:27)
      God clearly explains His foreknowledge. God told Jeremiah that He KNEW him, and consecrated him long before He formed him in the womb, and had appointed him a prophet then (Jer 1:5). Of Christ, through whom God’s *eternal purposes* (Eph 3:10,11) would be
      accomplished, that He was *foreknown* before the foundation of the world (1 Pt 1:20). Do we conceive of God looking into the future to discover His only begotten giving His life for us, but claiming, later, that He had ordained the whole scenario? (Acts 2:23; 4:24-28). Again, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”(Rom 8:29). Wouldn’t this be fraud punishable on Wall St up to a few years in prison? God said of Abraham, “For I knew/have known him so that he may command his children...”(Gen 18:19). Also of unbelievers in judgment, “I *never* knew you!”(Matt 7:23). Scripture teaches that God cannot be taught anything (Rom 11:34; 1 Cor 2:16; Job 36:2,23; Isa 40:13,14). He knows everything. He didn’t learn anything. He is God and the only God. From Him is everything(Rom 11:36). Is there another *reality* to which/whom God must conform?

      Scripture declares that God spoke celestial bodies, animals, plants, (angels, I suppose) into being/existence. Did God look into the future to learn what a donkey would look and sound like? The future cannot teach God anything. When God conceived the universe and its components in His “mind”, there was before Him the beginning to the end of everything, complete - every day, hour, min... of every thing. God affirms that all things were created for His Glory (therefor His Son’s also), that creatures, especially the authorities in the heavenly, would come to know Him (Eph 3:10). God allows/wills evil and good all for His glory.
      Some examples: Christ allowed Lazarus to die “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it...”(Jn 11:4,15,40); the man born blind “so that the works of God might be displayed in him”(Jn 9:3); Pharaoh, a figure/type of Satan (Gen 15:13,14; Jn 12:31) was “raised up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth” (Rom 9:17; Ex 9:14-16). Examples of God delivering up “blameless” ones as Job, Joseph, Daniel prefiguring Christ that His power and His name might be proclaimed. God declares: “We KNOW love by this, that He laid down His life for us...”(1 Jn 3:16). “God so love the world that He gave His only Son.” If God had not included in His plan the falls of “Lucifer” and Adam would we have come to know this Love that we so cherish. Would we have kept in our creation plan 2nd and 3rd rate creatures who we knew would rebel against us? God could have kept them from sinning against him as He did with Abimelech (Gen 20:6). But Lucifer, the wisest, most beautiful, creature God created and the angels would remain in “ignorance” of God. With all his God-given wisdom he conceived that he could be God, abject ignorance. Adam, made lower than angels, conceived the same thing. God knows our thoughts - from eternity past(1 Chron 28:9; Amos 4:13n Ps 139:2-4). He created us. He knew Adam would rebel; the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. All our lives are written out, from beginning to end, in God’s plan book.

  3. These 3 gentlemen knew that God of the Hebrews was all powerful and was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace and from the King.
    "{3:16} Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
    answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we
    [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. {3:17} 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 thine
    hand, O king. {3:18} 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."
    But also, they let the will of God to take effect; as per their last statement, by affirming that no matter what was going to transpire, they were going to remain steadfast to God.
    Faith is not a feeling or an emotion."Matthew 17:20
    And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." Faith is the inner stand we take even in the midst of dark clouds of defeat which linger above our head, and which appear to be impenetrable.We build this stand by meditating on the Scriptures prayerfully, so at to change our reflexes in line with the Word of God.This in turn enables us to quote and claim God's promises in the Scriptures when we face temptations, and difficulties.
    There are instances where our standing with God in Faith yields failure and defeat. But the God whom we serve has always turned defeats into successes. The occurrence in Daniel where Hebrews were already subdued and taken captive by Babylonian King was an outright defeat for the people of God, but God used it to further victory for Hebrews by show casing the faith of the 3 Hebrews against the rage and taunts of the pagan victors and their king.
    Romans 8:28 "{8:28} And we know that all
    things work together for good to them that love God, to
    them who are the called according to [his] purpose".Let us dare to be Daniels, Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos of this age.

  4. What is faith? It is believing that the LORD created and therefore owns the world and everything in it. It is also trusting that He will reward those who seek and worship Him. It is understanding that while we will receive some of the promises in this lifetime the rest will only be received after the Second Coming. Also even though we may have trials in this life the joy of having a loving relationship with our Awesome LORD in this life is worth it.

    2Co 4:16-18 ....; but though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For the lightness of our present affliction works out for us a far more excellent eternal weight of glory, 18 we not considering the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are not lasting, but the things which are not seen are everlasting.

    Heb 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 By faith we understand that the ages were framed by a word of God, so that the things being seen not to have come into being out of the things that appear.
    Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
    Heb 11:13 These all died by way of faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off. And they were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
    Heb 11:24-26 Having become great, Moses by faith refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
    Heb 11:32-40 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah; also David, and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the strangers. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings; yes, more, of bonds and imprisonments. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.

  5. The secret of this kind of faith is found in understanding that regardless of the circumstances God does not change, He is still God even when we burn in a fiery furnace.

    Daniel 3:18
    "But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up."

    From the time they were taken from Babylon that knew that God was who He said He was even in those difficult circumstances.

    You can imagine what was going on in their minds as young children then as their were carried as captives to Babylon.

    Like we saw in the previous lessons they had a knowledge of God and who God was from their childhood and the " Jerusalem " in them reminded them who God was.

    It is the kind of faith we need at these end times.

  6. "This is the victory that
    overcometh the world, even our faith." All things are possible to those who believe. "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

    God may not always work deliverance in the way that we think best, (and this does not change Him from being God) but he who sees everything from the beginning, knows what will bring honor and praise to his name.


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