Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Therefore the Lord earnestly waits, looking and longing to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you, blessed are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who long for Him, for His matchless, unbroken companionship!”
Isaiah 30: 18
“I will trust again His love, His power,
Though I cannot feel His hand today;
To His help anew I will betake me,
Though His countenance seems turned away!
Though without one smile, one gracious token,
Through the flames and floods my path must go,
When the fires subside, the waves pass over,
My Deliverer I again shall know.”
“In the night of distress, feel after somewhat which may quiet and stay thy heart till the next springing of the day. The sun will arise, which will scatter the clouds. And in the day of His power thou wilt find strength to walk with Him; yea, in the day of thy weakness His grace will be sufficient for thee.”
“My grace is enough;
it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own
in your weakness.”
II Corinthians 12: 9
The Message Bible
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the satraps, the deputies, the governors, the judges and chief stargazers, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs and lawyers, and all the chief officials of the provinces were gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald cried aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall that very hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace…therefore at that time certain men of Chaldean descent came near and brought malicious accusations against the Jews…They said, ‘There 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.’”
Daniel 3: 3-6, 8,12
“The Furnace of Affliction: - Part 11
“Snitches and the Green-Eyed Monster”
“O, beware my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster,
which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
“Have I witnessed the evil affects of jealousy in relationships in my life?
How has the trait of jealousy afflicted me?
“Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who is able to stand before jealousy?”
“Jealousy is a terrible thing. It resembles love, only it is precisely love’s contrary. Instead of wishing for the welfare of the object loved, it desires the dependence of that object upon itself, and its own triumph. Love is the forgetfulness of self; jealousy is the most passionate form of egotism, the glorification of a despotic, exacting, and vain ego, which can neither forget nor subordinate itself. The contrast is perfect.”
As we have undertaken the study of the first three chapters found in the book of Daniel, if there’s something which has caught my attention, it is the frenzied behavior exhibited by King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Chapter 1, he is threatening to murder all his “wise men” because they can’t “remember” the king’s dream. How would you have liked it if you had a boss at work tell you, “If you can’t remember the dream I had last night and tell me what it means, I’m going to execute you?” I’ve heard of lousy bosses, but please, this really takes the cake!
This is where God came to the rescue of Daniel and his three friends. However, even though Daniel understood that it was God whose blessings upon His own were where the revelation of the mystery came from, it appears that others in Babylon looked at the situation through a different pair of glasses. “When Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon; (Daniel) said unto him; ‘Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, ‘I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation” (Daniel 2: 24, 25, K.J.V.).
We come to understand two distinct things from these two texts:
#1 It appeared to all the participants in this event that Daniel’s reading of the forgotten dream was a very fortunate occurrence because it saved the lives of all the other Babylonian wise men. You might come to the conclusion that these magicians and astrologers and sorcerers would have had a little bit of gratitude they should have thrown Daniel’s way. If so, I’d ask you not to be hasty with that assessment. Let’s just say that they did owe their lives to Daniel and his correct revelation of the dream and its meaning as well as Daniel’s God whether they showed their appreciation or not.
#2 Having a foreign captive “show-up” the home team didn’t sit well with the local boys. In fact, they didn’t forget that Daniel was the hero in the king’s eyes. What’s more, the fact that King Nebuchadnezzar elevated not only Daniel, but his three friends as well to positions of authority throughout the realm of Babylon, just rubbed salt-in-the-open-wounds of the Chaldeans.
Dare I say that by the time we arrive at Daniel 3: 8-12 we find that the annoyance of having Jewish captives in high positions in King Nebuchadnezzar’s government had boiled over from a cauldron of green-eyed jealousy. The Chaldeans now had quite a diatribe to unload on the king. They were just holding in their displeasure at the way the four Hebrews had climbed the ladder of success in Babylon until the perfect moment! And it came on the plain of Dura, when the band struck up a tune, and the three Hebrews didn’t bow down before the king’s golden idol.
Evidently, with so many people at this tribute to the king, the Chaldeans wanted to make certain Nebuchadnezzar knew who was doing what and so the jealous tattle-tales struck: “O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound…shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoseo falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego: these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Just to check out what these men were doing to supposedly “protect” the king’s honor, eight times they used the words, “king,” “Thou,” and “thy.” It was like a lance stabbing the king: “O king, live forever”: “Thou, O king hast made a decree”; “thou set them over;” they haven’t regarded thee”; “they don’t worship your god;” or what “you have set up.” It’s quite a litany these men had going. The “outsiders” have undermined the “insiders” and now they are leading a direct affront on “You, O King.”
If you are in any way wondering why this sounds like a familiar tune, it’s because in the world today, the green-eyed monster of jealousy still wanders in our homes; in our jobs; and even in our houses of worship. King Solomon, in Proverbs 6: 34 pens this correct statement: “Jealousy makes a man (or woman) furious.” If you want to bring disharmony into any situation, just let the seed of jealousy take root. As Evangelist Luis Palau wrote in his book, A Heart After God: “One small seed of jealousy, once it takes root in the soil of the soul, can sprout overnight into a sprawling vine of poison ivy.”
We witness this poison ivy erupting on the plain of Dura when a group of men, who should have been grateful they were still alive, instead, became jealous at the way the Hebrews were rewarded and so they chose to give life to their jealous feelings by watching for one mistake or one supposed misstep so that they could call attention to the faults of others in order to cover their own. As author and teacher Beth Moore observes (correctly, I might add): “There is not a single soul that jealously looks good on. Nobody! It looks ugly on everybody, and it makes us act ugly.”
Indeed, on the plain of Dura, as we watch events unfold in the coming days, those Chaldeans who let the green-eyed monster get the best of them, in the end, only served to bring into clearer light the fact that with God’s peace infilling our lives, we will be able to stand firm in distress, disease, destruction, and even death.” (Hank Aonegroaff).
“O God, make us heirs of peace.”
Christ of Peace
“Christ of peace
Prince of peace
Giver of peace – we pray for peace.
We have had enough of hatred
which aims a gun at another and
pulls the trigger.
We have had enough of resentment
which destroys by malice or slander.
We have had enough of greed
which by force or trickery takes
what is not rightfully theirs.
We have had enough of fear
which makes children hide
lest evil strikes them.
We have had enough of anger
which explodes to shatter joy.
We have had enough of jealousy
which denigrates the grace it envies.
We have had enough of ancient divisions
which some people enshrine.
We have had enough of power
which usurps the right of others;
and manipulates for its own ends.
We have had enough!
Child of peace
Prince of peace
Giver of peace – we pray for
peace – and let it begin with us!”
“O God, we bring before You the anger, resentment, and despair of the world. Break through us with Your word of peace.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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