Cool in the Furnace
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
In the year 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked the little nation of Israel, overran it, and deported some of its population to Babylon as captives. Among those captives were four young men -- Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These young men decided that even though they were hundreds of miles from home living in a pagan, idolatrous, immoral city they were going to live for God.
They agreed that they would not compromise their faith. They would put God first no matter what the cost. Some of you have not put God first. You have compromised with sin. You have watered down your convictions. You have diluted your principles. You have followed the course of least resistance. You have gone with the crowd. And I want you to know that you can't do that -- not even once -- without paying for it. Every time you compromise your Christian principles, your character is diminished; you are crippled by that much. Our sins have a way of catching up with us.
You will remember in king Saul's day that God told him to battle the Amalekites and totally destroy them. Saul thought he was wiser than God. He compromised God's command and allowed some of the Amalekites to escape. Years passed by and Saul tried to take his own life, and lay wounded on the field of Gilboa. In his agony he called to a man and said, "Stand...upon me, and slay me."
And the man Saul addressed reported, "So I stood upon him, and slew him...and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm" (II Samuel 1:10). That man was an Amalekite. That is the natural history of sin -- one day it comes back to stand upon us and utterly destroy us.
But these four young men agreed that they would not compromise their faith. And as we think about their steadfastness, there are several things I want us to see in this third chapter of Daniel.
I. THE DEDICATION
Now, when we speak of the dedication, we are ta ...
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