The Sovereignty of God: Trusting God when we do not know the future.
Read Dan. 3
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire…but even if He does not… we are not going to serve your gods”
No one likes to be different and stand out in the crowd. There is something inherent within us that desires to conform to the masses. So, it is easy for us to understand the pressure confronting Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-nego. Nebuchadnezzar, in an act of extreme arrogance, made of an image of himself and commanded every single person in the whole kingdom to bow down and acknowledge their allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar and worship him as a god. One can imagine the scene, as the music began to play, all the multitudes assembled bowed in unison to the golden image that stood 90 feet high. But in the midst of the crowd three men remained standing. As they looked about them, all their friends and relatives, all the Jews that had been gathered were bowing. The pressure to conform would have been unbearable. But that was the least of their worries. In their act of non-conformity, they were committing an act of treason, for they were in direct defiance of the order of the king and their actions would have been viewed as a rejection of his authority. Nebuchadnezzar’s response was quick and predictable. In the face of such rebellion, Nebuchadnezzar brought them before him and gave them the ultimatum; either affirm their loyalty by submitting to the command to worship him or face a horrible death in a burning furnace.
But they had already counted the cost and agreed upon their response. They stood tall and firm. But it is their response that gives us insight into the meaning of living and resting in the sovereignty of God. In their statement, they highlight two important truths. First, God has the ability to save them even from the power of a king. The God who delivered Israel from Egypt, the one who divided the seas and established the nation is a God who is greater than any earthly leader.
Second, they trusted in the sovereign plan of God. While God certainly had the power and ability to deliver them, they accepted that his sovereign plan may included them perishing at the hands of this pagan king. In humble submission, they accept the fact that God does not always deliver his people. His plan, which is unseen by us, may involve suffering and even death.
This is an important lesson in trusting in the sovereignty of God. Nothing is haphazard with God. But this does not mean God will always deliver us from all our problems and trials. In his infinite wisdom he may allow us to face tragedy and struggles in order to achieve a deeper purpose. We do not always understand why he allows things to happen, but he asks us to simply trust him, even with his plan is unclear. Throughout history, God has allowed many of his followers experienced tragic death. But this does not mean God failed, only that God has a different purpose. Just because God can deliver us, does not mean that he will. Nevertheless, in the end, the outcome is already assured by a sovereign God. He promises he will always be with us in every circumstance and he has promised us eternal life in him, and nothing can threaten or thwart his promise. His sovereignty assures us that our eternal life is never threatened. In the uncertainty of the day, we can trust in God’s sovereign plan, a plan that does not guarantee us freedom from trials and even death, but a plan that assures us of our final victory.