One of my favourite stories in the Bible is the story of the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament!
The King, Nebuchadnezzar wanted everyone to worship him as a god and it was forbidden to worship any other God!
This might sound like a story but bare in mind that in many countries Christians are killed for being Christian and even in Christian countries, many Christians are severely persecuted if they take their faith more seriously and open up to the Holy Spirit in a radical way.
So Daniel refused to compromise and the king got so angry that he decided to burn Daniel alive with his 2 friends.
Now God was obviously testing Daniel too and it’s true that at times it’s hard to understand God’s tests. As a prophet Daniel was given great power and responsibility so I guess God was testing and perfecting his obedience, faith and humility.
Daniel was so bold and confident that he didn’t compromise. Read his reply to the king!
O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
A few things to note!
1. Daniel was speaking to the king and yet he spoke boldly and with authority because the king did not have the right to tell him to stop his faith!
2.The King got even more angry so he heated up the furnace even more which is a bit silly when you think about it! He was going to burn anyway!
One could now take a minute and think of Jesus before Pilate!
‘Are you the king of the Jews’
‘You have said so’ Jesus replied!
And Pilate also got angry and in John 19:10 says
10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
to which Jesus replies
11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
All of this is well and good as a ‘story’. However this is not a story but a true TESTIMONY.
Jesus’ boldness was just like Daniels; shocking, uncompromising, scary!
And so back to the fiery furnace!
Daniel was thrown in alive with his 2 friends and what happened?
God sent an angel and. ….
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
After which the king humbled himself and converted to the true God of Daniel!
“Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
And thinking of the new testament and of Jesus we could also think of how so many people converted to christianity after the resurrection!
So it seems that the life of a prophet, be it Daniel or Jesus or even those people today with prophetic gifts is destined for many trials!
Once at a pentecostal church in Melbourne Australia a prophetic man was on stage. The room had about 400 people. Suddenly he got a prophetic word, there was a stranger who had come to visit the church for the first time. He was a little guy and was wearing an australian t-shirt and was almost at the back of the hall!
The pastor pointed at him as if he was beside him and that nobody else was in the room!
“You in the australian t-shirt”
The room froze and all eyes tried to find the guy as did I!
“The Lord is going to use you to change nations and leaders all over the world….”
I looked at the crowd, I looked at my t-shirt, I looked at 400 eyes all staring at me!
Tears rolled down my face as the power of the Holy Spirit confirmed it on the inside!
And so today like all prophetic people who have gone before me I too face the fiery furnace of criticism, scorning because people often don’t like what Jesus tells me!
And so today, maybe you too are a prophet! You might be a priest or a bishop or a simple lay-person and as you grow and speak truth you too will be misunderstood and burnt!
Yet, if you persevere, even your enemies will come to see that you are telling the truth and just like the king repented of his evil deeds, so too will yours!
So my message today is one of simplicity, perseverance and trust!
‘In the name of Jesus we have the victory!
Bless u all