In Chapter 18, we hear two pretty famous Bible Stories. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego who are thrown into the fiery furnace but are not burned. And Daniel, who is thrown into the lions’ den, but it not even scratched. If you grew up in the Christian Church, you probably had more than one Sunday School or Vacation Bible School lesson on these characters. But, did you know where they fit in the context of The Story? Not many people understand that these occur while the Southern Kingdom is in exile in Babylon.
In exile, God’s people were being forced to recant their faith in the one, true God and instead bow down to worship the King of Babylon. Daniel and his friends wouldn’t do it, and because of their commitment to God, it was going to lead to certain death. Yet, God protected them and gave them lasting influence in the administration of the Kings.
What would you do if your life was being threatened for having faith in Jesus Christ?
2016 was the MOST DANGEROUS year to be a Christian in modern times. All the estimates are that it is going to get even more dangerous in 2017.
Around 90,000 Christians were KILLED simply for being Christian in 2016
Approximately 600,000,000 Christians were prevented from practicing their faith through intimidation, forced conversion, bodily harm, or death.
I will be sharing some information about the persecution of Christians on Sunday morning, but you may want to start looking at some of this information now. Here is a link to the World Watch List which identifies much of what is going on in the world.
Again – the question for all Christians is, do we believe, and live, as though we truly believe that God is God over our lives and our deaths and all of our eternity? If so, how does that affect the way we live in a world where it often seems like Christians are living in exile?
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world who are suffering for the sake of Christ. There are ways to take action. Look here for more info.
Alive in Christ!
Watch this week’s sermon: