In North America, or at least Evangelical North America, the Our Daily Bread devotional is probably the most-read staple of devotional reading. Sometimes accused of being a little ‘lite’ in content, there are some, like this entry, which combine a little church history, a little Bible history and some serious application…
If this seems a little longer than you remember Our Daily Bread being, it’s because we’ve printed out the suggested scripture reading in full; whereas many (of us!) often just read the theme verse and don’t actually do the reading.
Our Daily Bread is published faithfully by Radio Bible Class in monthly, quarterly, large-print and many different foreign languages.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8Therefore at that time certain men of Chaldean descent came near and brought [malicious] accusations against the Jews.
9They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever!
10You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music shall fall down and worship the golden image,
11And that whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12There are certain Jews whom you have appointed and set over the affairs of the province of Babylon–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and these men were brought before the king.
14[Then] Nebuchadnezzar said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up?
15Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be cast at once into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is that god who can deliver you out of my hands?
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point.
17If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!(A)
19Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury and his facial expression was changed [to antagonism] against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therefore he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated.
20And he commanded the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21Then these [three] men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics or undergarments, their turbans, and their other clothing, and they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame and sparks from the fire killed those men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace.
24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [saw and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered, True, O king.
25He answered, Behold, 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 a son of the gods!(B)
26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come out and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the midst of the fire.
27And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered around together and saw these men–that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.
28Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, and language that speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses be made a dunghill, for there is no other God who can deliver in this way!
30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
35[Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured [a]to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. [I Kings 17:17-24; II Kings 4:25-37.]
God Is Good
When Polycarp (AD 69-155), who was bishop of the church at Smyrna, was asked by Roman authorities to curse Christ if he wanted to be released, he said, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” The Roman officer threatened, “If you do not change your mind, I will have you consumed with fire.” Polycarp remained undaunted. Because he would not curse Christ, he was burned at the stake.
Centuries earlier, when three young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego faced a similar threat, they answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, . . . 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” (Dan. 3:16-18). A similar experience but two different outcomes. Polycarp was burned alive, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego left the furnace unsinged.
Two different results but the same display of faith. These men showed us that faith in God is not simply faith in what God can do. But it’s the belief that God is God whether He delivers us or not. He has the final say. And it’s our decision to choose to follow Him through it all.
Lord, help us trust You all the time
Regardless of what comes our way,
Accepting from Your goodness that
You always have the final say. —Sper