Bible Reading: Daniel 3; Psalm 119:46-48
This is the week we all sit around a table filled with food and rattle off a list of things we are thankful for. We are challenged by this time of year to look beyond ourselves and think about the things we take for granted. Even our commercials and other advertisement ask us what we are thankful for. Honestly, it is not hard to think of things to be thankful for. The main obstacle to thankfulness is our circumstances. Can you remain thankful in the midst of chaos? Would you have a heart filled with thanks to God if your life was being threatened?
Most all of us know the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Three men from Israel who were carted off to Babylon, and ended up being made administrators for the king. When King Nebuchadnezzar sets up a gold image of himself that is 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide, and demands all the people of Babylon bow and worship it, things get interesting for these three men. They are faced with a big decision to make: either bow down and worship the image of the king, or remain faithful to God. If they bow to the statue, then all is well and good. If they choose God over the statue, they will be immediately cast into the flaming furnace. When they choose to remain faithful to God, their words are sprinkled with a thankful appreciation to God. They said, “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Can you detect the thanksgiving? These men know beyond all doubt and fear, that even when faced with a fiery death, there God cares for them. Can you imagine the praises and thanksgiving they are lifting up to God as they WALK THROUGH THE FIRE! These three men are so thankful to their God, that in the presence of a power-hungry king, they stand firm. They do not back down in fear, but boldly proclaim the name of the God whom they serve. Psalm 119:46-48 seems to fit the occasion. It reads, “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.”
Call to Action: Are so thankful for who God is and what He has done that you would stand defiant before kings? Do you love God to the degree of walking through fire? This is the week that we take time to think of all the things we are thankful for. Don’t simply say God first, because that is what is expected. Instead, take time to focus on all of the reasons you are thankful to God. Give Him more than a one sentence praise. Take time to rejoice and praise your Heavenly Father who has saved you from sin and promised you eternal life. Thank Him for all things big and small. This God will walk with you through a fiery furnace, lead you through the valley of the shadow of death, provide manna and water in the wilderness, and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Praise Him until your heart is filled with thanksgiving and delight in all that God has done, and in who He is to you. Have a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving.