Faithlife Sermons

Waiting for delivery

Welcome to the Waiting Room; Advent 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Notes & Transcripts
For the longest time, the only delivery I waited for was for pizza. Actually, for the longest time, life was relatively easy. There were no great trials, nothing that was all that difficult.
Well, I did have to wait for Christmas as well, and then birthdays. When I was in school I had to wait for summer holidays, or work terms.
Only as I got older did waiting take on a completely different sense. After I graduated from seminary, I had to wait. There weren’t the openings in the diocese for me to get a job right away and be ordained. Two years I waited. At times I wasn’t sure if I was waiting for something that would happen or not.
When we were waiting for Ben to be born, even that wait wasn’t too bad — as he came six weeks early. For the most part, waiting meant waiting for something good to happen.
Then, as is typical with life, waiting changed. Waiting didn’t always end in something good. We waited for days after my father was diagnosed with an aneurysm that was leaking. It was days before the surgery happened — for a leaking aneurysm. Recently we waited for months with my mother-in-law for similar surgery, and a valve replacement, and other open heart repairs. We didn’t know if the waiting would result in something good or not.
Daniel 3:15–17 NRSV
Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.
Many people hear this story and think about the incredible statement of faith that is made by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. However, at least one commentator has a different approach:
Harper’s Bible Commentary 3:1–30 The Three Young Men In the Fiery Furnace

The Jews’ reply suggests that they were more certain of God’s absolute opposition to idolatry than they were of God’s power to snatch them from the oven. But they were still willing to put fidelity to God’s law ahead of their own salvation from the fire.

So, it isn’t a case so much of a statement of faith, as it is a proclamation of belief — and those are two different things. The three believe that “God’s absolute opposition to idolatry” is such an important concept to hold on to.

The narrative relating to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3 resembles a martyr narrative, except that the three heroes do not die.

It is important for us to remember this. The three had no idea how things were going to work out for them. They knew that they were willing to hold onto their beliefs though.
It is important for us to remember that while not every waiting results in happy endings, God’s people of faith can rely on their faith to help them through the difficult times.

What are you waiting for?

As Christians, we’re of course waiting for the birth of Jesus. Only a few weeks away. In our secular culture, that gets all messed up with waiting for Christmas, for gift giving, for large meals, for excess.
Many of our Christmas traditions don’t have a tie-in to the birth of Jesus. Worship, hopefully does, but there is so much more to our Christmas observances these days than the spiritual dimension.
I invite you though to take some time and think about what you’re waiting to be delivered from. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego weren’t really waiting to be delivered from the fire, they were waiting to be delivered from their oppression — waiting to be delivered from a tyrant who limited their religious beliefs.

What do you need to be delivered from?

For some, that might be an easy question to answer, for others, it may take a while to come to an answer. Take time this week to think about it, and pray about it.
Then take your belief in God and figure out how you can be delivered from it. For just as God delivered those in exile from Nebuchadnezzar’s religious persecution, God also changed the heart of Nebuchadnezzar to realize the truth strength of belief in God.
O holy one, give us belief in you to see us though the difficult moments in life. Help us to keep steadfast in faith
Related Media
Related Sermons