Thursday, January 23, 2014

HUNGRY FOR THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST

If you hunger and thirst for the fullness of Christ, Satan will declare outright war on you. When he sees evidence that your commitment is real—your diligence in prayer, your denial of self—he will use every weapon in hell to try to destroy your testimony. Why? Because your testimony is God’s answer to apostasy and ruin!

This is what the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel is all about. Satan devised an elaborate plan to destroy the only testimony of God’s power left in Babylon. It culminated in a white-hot oven, meant to kill all living proof of God’s gospel truth (see Daniel 3).

Three godly young Israelites served in high government offices in Babylon, men who were visible testimonies of the gospel they preached. They had separated themselves from the sensuous lifestyle of Babylon, committing their lives instead to prayer. These three men were not prophets or priests, but laymen who remained faithful to God and were pure in heart in the midst of the idolatrous masses.

Of course, this stirred Satan’s rage, and he entered the heart of Babylon’s evil king. The king erected a huge golden statue and declared it the official national god, an object to be worshiped. Then he summoned all officials and servants from every nation under Babylon’s thumb so he could introduce the new religion. When the ceremonial music began, everyone was to bow to this new god.

Satan also prompted the king to erect a huge brick furnace and stoke it so the white-hot flames were visible to everyone. Why did Satan do this? Surely he knew there wasn’t a governor, judge or sheriff anywhere in Babylon who would resist the new decree. They did not need to be seduced or threatened.

In fact, they all must have been dumbfounded, wondering, “Hey, who wants to rock the boat? We’re doing just fine—we have prosperity, food and drink, the good life. And this new religion is easy on the soul. Who would want to give up all this?”

So, what was the fiery furnace all about? It was totally the work of Satan—a manipulation rigged by him to destroy the three young men. He wanted to kill off the only remaining testimony of God in Babylon!

The three young men answered the king’s command: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king” (Daniel 3:17).