The Lord Has Brought Us Through
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Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
AS WE COME TO THIS LAST SUNDAY IN THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY, THAT WE RECOGNIZE AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH….WE HONOR AND CELEBRATE OUR HERITAGE…OUR HISTORY…THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS …ACCOLADES….AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIETY.
WE WITHOUT A DOUBT KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH MANY TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS IN THIS NATION THT WE CALL THE UNITED STATES……FROM SLAVERY…WHERE OUR ANCESTORS WERE ENSLAVED…MISTREATED….TORTURED….ABUSED AND KILLED….TO THE JIM CROW ERA…WHERE WE CONTINUED TO BE MISTREATED THROUGH RACIAL SEGREGATION….TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA….AND TO THIS PRESENT DAY WHERE BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE STILL FACE RACISM, DISCRIMINATION, VIOLENCE AND MURDER BY THE HANDS OF THE POLICE…..AND ALTHOUGH AS A RACE OF PEOPLE WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH ….I BELIEVE THE LORD HAS BROUGHT US THROUGH……
THE STORY ABOUT SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO IS A FAMILIAR STORY THAT MOST PEOPLE ADMIRE AND LOVE TO TELL BECAUSE IT REVEALS TO US WHAT STEADFASTNESS AND COURAGE CAN DO IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD OF GOD. THE THREE HEBREW BOYS ARE AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO THOSE OF US WHO TRY OUR BEST TO STAND ON THE WORD OF GOD.
THEY STOOD ON THE WORD OF GOD TOGETHER EVEN IN THE FACE OF DANGER WHEN KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR SENT A DECREE THROUGHOUT THE LAND THAT MANDATED ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND TO BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP HIS GOLDEN IMAGE WHEN THE MUSIC IS PLAYED.
HE COMMANDED THAT ALL OF HIS SUBJECTS BOW DOWN TO HIS GOD BECAUSE HE DESIRED THAT HIS GOD WOULD BE THE GOD OF THE LAND. HOWEVER THE THREE HEBREW BOYS STOOD ON THE WORD OF GOD THAT SAID, “THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME.” THEY WOULD NOT SELL OUT TO NEBUCHADNEZZAR EVEN THOUGH THE KING HAD BLESSED THEM WITH STATUS POSITION AND POWER. THEY WOULD NOT GIVE IN EVEN IF IT MEANT THEIR LIVES.
THEY WOULD NOT BE BOUGHT BY A FEW DOLLARS. (NO, NO!) THEY HAD ALREADY DETERMINED FOR GOD I LIVE AND FOR GOD I’LL DIE.
AND SO WHEN NEBUCHADNEZZAR FINALLY REALIZED THAT THESE BOYS WERE SERIOUS HE DECIDED, “WELL, I GUESS I AM GOING TO HAVE TO SHOW THESE BOYS THAT YOU DON’T BITE THE HAND THAT FEED YOU.
I TELL YOU CHURCH THESE BOYS WERE BRAVE SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD.
NOT EVEN THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING BURNED INTO A CRISP WOULD MAKE THESE BOYS GIVE IN TO THE KING AND STEP OFF OF THE WORD OF GOD.
AND IT AMAZES ME, CHURCH, HOW SO MANY PEOPLE THESE DAYS WILL FORSAKE THE WORD OF GOD FOR POSITION STATUS AND POWER.
IT AMAZES ME THAT FOR SO MANY PEOPLE…. GOD’S WORD IS TAKEN FOR GRANTED.
IF THE WORD SAYS THAT THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME, THAT MEANS THE GOD OF MONEY, THE GOD OF STATUS, THE GOD OF FRIEND, THE GOD OF PASTOR, THE GOD OF HUSBAND, THE GOD OF WIFE, THE GOD OF CHILDREN, THE GOD OF SELF, AND/OR THE GOD OF CAREER SHOULD NOT EVER COME BEFORE HIM.
THE THREE HEBREW BOYS STOOD FIRM ON GOD’S WORD AND GOD RESCUED THEM FROM THE HURT HARM AND DANGER OF KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND THE FIERY FURNACE.
CHURCH I AM IMPRESSED AT THE FACT THAT THESE BOYS STOOD ON GOD’S WORD WITHOUT WAVERING.
HOWEVER WITHIN THIS STORY, I AM MOST IMPRESSED WITH GOD.
THEIR 3 HEBREW BOYS SEEM TO OVERSHADOW THE STORY, BUT THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE TEXT IS STILL GOD.
THIS TEXT IS ABOUT WHAT GOD IS WORTHY OF, WHO GOD IS SUPPOSED TO BE, HOW GOD SHOULD BE VIEWED, WHERE GOD IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN OUR LIVES, AND HOW GOD REWARDED THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.
YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU BEEN THROUGH
I LOVE WHAT SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO DOES IN THE FACE OF CONFLICT AND CONTROVERSY BUT I AM MOST IMPRESSED WITH GOD.
CAN YOU COMPREHEND A FIRE SET SEVEN TIMES HOTTER THAN NORMAL NOT DEVOUR ANYTHING PLACED IN IT?
THE NORMAL TEMPERATURE OF FIRE IS 650 DEGREES CELSIUS.
SO THESE BOYS STOOD WITHIN A FURNACE THAT WAS 4550 DEGREES CELSIUS AND WALKED OUT WITHOUT A HAIR SINGED.
JUST THE HEAT FROM A FIRE THAT HOT COULD DAMAGE SOMETHING, BUT THESE BOYS WERE IN THESE VIOLENT FLAMES AND WALKED OUT WITHOUT A BLISTER.
THEY ARE IN THE FIRE BUT THE FIRE DOES NOT HARM THEM.
THEY ARE IN THE FIRE BUT THE FIRE CANNOT SCORCH THEM.
THEY ARE IN THE FIRE AND THE FIRE IS MUCH WORSE THAN USUAL BUT THEY WALK OUT OF THE FIRE IN GOOD HEALTH, GOOD SPIRITS, GOOD ATTITUDES, AND WITH GOOD LOOKS.
THE SMELL OF SMOKE DID NOT EVEN MAKE ITSELF PRESENT UPON THEIR CLOTHES.
THEY WALKED OUT OF THE FIERY FURNACE AS A REPRESENTATION OF THE POWER OF GOD.
AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF GOD. GOD PROTECTED THEM. GOD PROVED HIMSELF TO THEM.
GOD PROVED TO NEBUCHADNEZZAR THAT NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST A CHILD OF THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD SHALL PROSPER.
AND MT. ZION YOU MAY HAVE BEEN THROUGH SOME FIRE OVER THESE PAST 96 YEARS……BUT PRAISE BE TO GOD…..YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY GOD SHOWED EVERYBODY IN THE LAND THAT THERE IS NO OTHER GOD BUT HIM.
AND BECAUSE OF GOD THEY DID NOT LOOK LIKE WHAT THEY HAD BEEN THROUGH.
AND CHURCH IF THE TRUTH BE TOLD CORRECTLY THEIR STORY IS ALSO OUR STORY.
BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE BEEN THROWN INTO THE HOT FLAMES OF LIFE
AND THE GOD OF SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO HAS BEEN THERE TO HELP AND PROTECT US.
AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW …. BECAUSE OF THAT YOU HAVE A TESTIMONY THAT YOU OUGHT TO PRAISE GOD FOR…..
BECAUSE SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED LIFE’S FIRE. SOME OF US COULD NOT TAKE THE HEAT BUT HAD NO WAY OF GETTING OUT OF THE KITCHEN.
SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS.
SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED RACISM, CLASSISM, SEXISM, AND EVERY OTHER KIND OF –ISM.
SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED FINANCIAL HARDSHIP.
SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED DEPRESSION.
SOME OF US HAVE ENDURED THE DANGERS OF SIN.
AND WATCH THIS…..
WHILE YOU WERE IN IT SOMETIMES IT SEEMED AS IF IT WAS SEVEN TIMES WORSE THAN USUAL.
YOUR TRIALS FELT SEVEN TIMES HARDER.
YOUR SICKNESS FELT SEVEN TIMES WORSE.
YOUR WORRIES SEEMED TO LAST SEVEN TIMES LONGER.
SATAN THOUGHT THE FIRE WOULD HURT YOU.
IT SHOULD HAVE KILLED YOU.
IT SHOULD HAVE STRESSED YOU OUT.
IT SHOULD HAVE HAD YOU IN THE PSYCHE WARD.
BUT BECAUSE OF GOD’S LOVE, HIS CARE, HIS HELP, AND HIS PROTECTION YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE FIRE, BUT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN CONSUMED.
YOU ARE LIVING WELL.
YOU SMELL GOOD. YOU FEEL GOOD.
AND I HAVE NEWS FOR SOMEBODY TODAY; YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU’VE THROUGH!!
SO, WHY DID THE FIRE NOT CONSUME US WHILE WE WERE IN THE MIDST OF FLAMES THAT WERE SEVEN TIMES GREATER THAN NORMAL?
I. LET ME SUGGEST…..
THE FIRE WAS NOT MEANT TO CONSUME YOU, BUT TO REFINE YOU.
WHEN PRECIOUS METALS ARE FOUND, THEY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE FIRE AS THE MEANS OF THEIR REFINING PROCESS.
AND WHAT THE FIRE DOES IS IT REMOVES ALL OF THE IMPURITIES AND UNWANTED MATERIALS IN THE PRECIOUS METALS SO THAT WHEN THEY COME OUT THEY LOOK SMOOTH AND POLISHED.
THEY DON’T COME OUT LOOKING BURNED AND BRUISED, BUT THEY COME OUT OF THE FIRE LOOKING LIKE SOMETHING READY TO MAKE SPECTACULAR JEWELRY.
THEY COME OUT AS A REPRESENTATION OF THE FIRE’S WORK.
AND THE FIRE THAT YOU GO THROUGH IN LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO DESTROY YOU.
BUT IT IS MEANT TO REFINE YOU.
YOU WERE A PRECIOUS METAL.
YOU WERE LOST.
YOU WERE HURT.
YOU WERE DISTRESSED.
YOU FELT LIFE’S FIRES LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
BUT I GOT NEWS FOR YOU.
YOU ARE JUST LIKE JOSEPH, BECAUSE THE FIRE THAT WAS MEANT FOR EVIL GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD.
THE STRUGGLES REFINED YOUR FAITH.
THE HARD TIME STRENGTHEN YOU HEART.
WHEN YOU WERE IN THE FIRE YOU FOUND OUT THE REFINERY FIRE IS WHERE YOU LEARNED, MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT THE LORD DELIVERS HIM OUT OF THEM ALL.
THE FIRE IS WHERE YOU LEARNED, THAT WHEN MY MOTHER AND FATHER FORSAKE ME THE LORD WILL TAKE ME UP.
AND WHEN THE FIRE SEEMED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO LAST FOREVER YOU FOUND OUT, THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH. THEY SHALL MOUNT UP ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES. THEY SHALL RUN AND NOT BE WEARY. THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT.
THE FIRE DID NOT CONSUME YOU BECAUSE IT WAS MEANT TO REFINE YOU.
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE TODAY, BUT JESUS SAVED ME WHILE I WAS IN MY MESS.
HE TOUCHED ME WHILE I WAS IN MY STUFF.
HE GAVE ME HOPE WHEN I WAS IN A HOPELESS SITUATION.
HE TOUCHED ME WHEN NOBODY ELSE COULD GET TO ME.
AND THAT IS WHY I DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH.
THAT IS WHY YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH.
BECAUSE JESUS REACHED WAY DOWN AND SAVED YOU WHILE YOU WERE IN YOUR MESS.
HE BLESSED YOU WHEN YOU DIDN’T DESERVE IT. AND BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH.
I HEARD SOMEBODY SAY, “THERE’S A LIGHT IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH FOR ME, SINCE JESUS CAME INTO MY HEART.
FLOODS OF JOY O’ER MY SOUL LIKE THE SEA BILLOWS ROLL, SINCE JESUS CAME INTO MY HEART.”
NOW I’M GLAD ABOUT THE FIRE.
BECAUSE IF I NEVER HAD A PROBLEM.
I NEVER KNEW THAT GOD COULD SOLVE THEM.
AND THROUGH IT ALL, I’VE LEARNED TO DEPEND ON JESUS.
THROUGH IT ALL, I’VE LEARNED TO DEPEND ON GOD.
THROUGH IT ALL, I’VE LEARNED THAT THE LORD IS THE STRENGTH OF MY LIFE; WHOM SHALL I BE AFRAID.
THAT’S WHY WE DON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT WE’VE BEEN THROUGH.
WE’VE BEEN IN THE FIRE, BUT NOT BURNED.
WE’VE BEEN THROUGH THE FLOOD, BUT NOT OVERWHELMED.
WE’VE BEEN WITH THE DOGS, AND HAVE NO FLEAS.
WE WERE HARD PRESSED ON EVERY SIDE, BUT NOT CRUSHED.
WE ARE PERPLEXED BUT NOT IN DESPAIR.
WE ARE FORSAKEN AND STRUCK DOWN BUT NOT DESTROYED.
BECAUSE JESUS FIXED IT ALL ON A HILL CALL CALVARY.
THEY WHIPPED HIM ALL NIGHT LONG. THEY HUNG HIM HIGH AND STRETCHED HIM WIDE.
THEY PUT NAILS IN HIS HANDS.
THEY PUT NAILS IN HIS FEET.
THEY KILLED HIM ON A CRIMINALS CROSS.
THEY BURIED HIM IN JOSEPH’S TOMB.
BUT EARLY ON SUNDAY MORNING WHEN MARY SAW HIM; HE DIDN’T LOOK LIKE WHAT HE BEEN THROUGH.
BECAUSE HE GOT UP WITH ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS.
POWER FOR US TO LIVE.
POWER FOR US TO GIVE.
POWER FOR US TO MAKE IT.
POWER SO YOU WON’T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH.