Daniel 3

Daniels 3 friends find themselves in a bind when the king builds this giant statue of himself and commands everyone to bow down and worship him.  Daniels friends resist knowing that it may very well cost them their lives.  It’s at this point that I want to ask a question.

What if this were to happen today?  What if you were challenged by a world ruler to bow down to a statue and worship knowing that failure to do so would cost you your life?  Would you do it?  Would you resist?  Be honest.  Your response reveals your heart. To be sure it’s not an easy call.  Would you be tempted to bow?

If you would say, “i’ll bow outwardly but inwardly I would still honor God,” you have just played your “life” as the trump card that holds all the power in making your decisions.  You’re statement, though not said with lips, but said with your life would be, “it is better to live serving a false god than die worshiping the real God.”  Your life then is what you love the most.  But now you see the irony, by attempting to preserve your life you have lost it.  Your cowardice now betrays a pocket of unbelief in your life.

So how do you come to the fire believing that God could spare you, but even if He doesn’t He is still God and He is still good? I tell you, you won’t get there by whipping yourself into a frenzy and trying to work up courage.  True courage comes only from trusting the one who faced the greater fire of Hell for you.  You will never be able to love God deeply until you know how deeply he loves you.

Father,

Thank you for loving me even when I was unlovable. Still I am unable to get over the great debt you have paid on the cross for my sin.  Today I walk in freedom and celebrate your glorious goodness.  give me courage to boldly proclaim you to the nations.  I want everyone to know who you are and how freely you save.

What Sign Do You Show Us for Doing These Things? (John 2:18)

Read all of John 2 to grasp the context.

Do you get it?  Do you see the logic?  The reason behind the question?  Jesus flips tables.  He takes a whip and clears the Temple.  The people around start asking for a sign.

They get it.  They realize that here is a man who has no position or title to give him authority in the Temple, yet he is acting out like he has authority in that sphere.  He is acting like a prophet.  They know their history.

Moses performed miracles when he approached Pharoah. Elijah called fire down from heaven.  They want to know if Jesus is a prophet, possibly even the messiah.  If he is, they reason, he should show them a sign.

Jesus doesn’t play any parlor tricks here.  He has already changed water into wine back at Canna of Galilee.  He could easily do something here, but instead he points to the temple they are in and says, destroy this temple and in 3 days I’ll build it back.  They thought he was talking about a building.  He was talking about his body.

They had perverted worship by bringing money making schemes into the Temple.  Their offerings were an offense to God, but they would offend God further by putting Christ to death.  But that would not be the end of it.  The ultimate sign that He would give is that he would rise from the dead.  Worship would no longer center around an earthly temple made by human hands, but would center of Jesus Christ.  (There is a great depth and richness to this passage, but not enough time to go through it all here).

Also note 2 things. 1. The disciples immediately recall Psalm 69:9 in reference to Jesus’ actions here (John 2:17). 2. When Jesus is raised from the dead the disciples remember this event and it causes them to believe the scripture (John 2:22).  Remember the New Testament hadn’t been written yet.  The scripture that the disciples  believe is the Old Testament in reference to Jesus as the Messiah.

Application: Jesus is the True and Better temple that was destroyed and ressurected so that we might also be raised from the dead and enjoy eternal life with God. Thank God today for all Christ has done for you and live in free worship of Him by how you live.

Father,

I thank you for the work of Christ on the cross and his ressurection for my benefit that I might enjoy the pleasure of knowing you.  I rejoice that your word is singularly focused on the message of the gospel.  I ask for grace to walk worthy of Christ in thefreedom that you have given me.

Morning: Psalm 69

Mid-Day: Psalm 3

Evening: Psalm 102

“He Has Made Him Known” (John 1:18)

What great news! This indeed is the gospel.  God has not left us without a way to know Him.  We do not have to blindly search our world for evidence of God.  We are not left alone in our depraved and fallen nature, cursed to wander through life aimlessly.  God has come to our rescue.  He has made Himself known.

What a marvelous plan.  God has not demanded that we be able to ascend to heaven.  We could never reach up to God by our merit or deeds… God has reached down to us.  You see this was the mistake at Babel (Genesis 11).  Man by his own devices was trying to reach unto the heavens.  He was trying to regain admission to the kingdom of God through force.

You see, that is why Jacob’s ladder was so important (Genesis 28).  It was a symbol, a promise that though man could not reach God, God could still reach down to men.  He spoke to Jacob there and made a promise.  A promise that was also made to his father, Abraham.  A promise that included the message that through Jacob’s offspring all the families of the earth would be blessed.

This is the picture.  Man can not reach up to God, but God will reach down to man.  The rift, the separation of people that was caused at the tower of Babel would not ultimately last.  There is still hope for all the families of the earth.  There is one who stands in the line of Jacob who has come to bring us to God.  There is one who has come to gather together people from every tongue, tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9).  There is one who has made God known to us.  His name is Jesus.

Father,

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ.  He is indeed the way the Truth and the Life.  I ask today that I would walk in Him.  Thank you for working in my life.  Thank you for saving me.  Changing me. Cleansing me.  Making me a new person in Jesus Christ.  I want the world to know you .  Give me grace to share your gospel with others today.

Morning: Psalm 100

Mid-Day: Philippians 4:4-8

Night: Psalm 1