Without Risk there is no Reward! 2
Daniel 3:4-18, 24-25
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 At this time some astrologers[b] came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Now last week we began this new series, without risk there is no reward and I shared with the the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I told you the story about how they refused to eat the king’s meat and drink the king’s wine, and chose to eat vegetables and drink water instead. And after 10 days they were found to be healthier and more nourished than all the other men. They took a risk and reaped the rewards of being elevated in a foreign land, and these rewards were structured, prepared them to serve, and surpassed their expectations.
Last week we talked about how the Hebrew boys risked their diet.
This week we’re going to talk about how the three Hebrew boys risked death.
Last week they risked their lifestyle.
This week they risked their lives.
Last week they risked their meals.
This week they risked their manhood.
And they risked it all for what they believed.
They risked it all for their faith.
They risked it all for their God.
What are you willing to risk for your faith?
What are you willing to risk for what you believe?
What are you willing to risk for your God?
There is a a professional football player who took a risk for what he believed in a few years ago. He decided that he would kneel during the national anthem instead of stand, as a peaceful protest to bring attention to the enormous amount of police brutality and wrongful shootings and deaths against African Americans and other minority groups as well as other racial injustices that have gotten out of control in the land of the free and the home of the brave. He was well within his rights as an American to protest in this manner. He did not break any rules of the NFL or any laws of the land. He was just standing up or should I say kneeling down for what he believed in. This act of peaceful protest has been a controversy in the media for years. People can agree or disagree all they want, but the sad thing is that this great and talented professional athlete is sitting at home without a job all because he took a stand. Or should I say because he was black and took a stance because I guarantee if Kolin Kaperknick was white the conversation would be totally difference. But because he is not white and he took a risk he is no longer in the NFL.
Not because he broke a law.
Not because he broke one of the leagues policies.
Not because he took an illegal substance.
Not because he was selling drugs.
Not because he beat his wife.
Not because he was caught on camera using the “n” word.
But because he took a stand for what he believes.
So again I ask you, what are you willing to risk for what you believe. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to risk their lives for what they believed. And I think there are a few things that we can learn from their story. Let’s look at the text…
So that’s all fine and dandy for the three Hebrew boys, but that was a long time ago. Times have changed! This is 2021. I live in America and nobody is making me bow and worship anything. Are you sure about that?
We don’t worship Facebook?
Former President Donald Trump or Barack Obama?
We have idols all around us, and whether we want to believe it or not our lives are at stake. So ask your neighbor are you willing to risk it all for God? Are your willing to risk your life? The three Hebrew boys did and if you do, these three things will happen.
First of all God will show up. I love this because Jesus literally shows up because the king jumps to his feet and says didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace. Then why do I see four men unbound, and one looks like the son of God. Is there anybody in the room that can testify to the fact that God will show up. He may not come when you want him, but he is always right on tim. I am sure that we can all share a story or two or three or twenty about how many times God has shown up on our behalf.
The times we didn’t know how we were going to pay that bill. The times we didn’t know how we would feed our children.
The times we didn’t know if we’d see the next day.
The times we thought we would never make it.
We know all about God showing up. So imagine how God will show up when we risk it all for him! This is what happens when God shows up.
When God shows up we are in his presence. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d rather be in the presence of God than presence of the rich and the famous.
I’d rather be in the presence of God than the presence of the Queen of England.
I’d rather be in the presence of God than the president, past, present, or future.
Although I enjoy and miss going to Buckeye football games.
I’d rather be in the presence of G-O-D than in a crowd of 110,000 people screaming O-H-I-O!
And the reason why is simple. Can’t no body do me like Jesus. Can’t nobody do me like the Lord. In other words in his presence…
I am safe.
I am secure.
I am loved.
I am protected.
I am better than I am without him.n
I am on track.
I am in good company.
I am provided for.
And I am sure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were excited about being in the presence of God.
Anybody in the room excited about the presence of God?
Holy Spirit you are welcome here.
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for.
To be overcome by you presence, Lord.
Because when God shows up we are in his presence and when we are in his presence we receive his prevention. Now what in the world are you talking about. Well prevention is the act of stopping something from happening or arising. And how many times has God stopped something from happening or arising in your life?
The car accident.
The drive by.
The beat down.
He prevented the three Hebrew boys from burning up and dying in a fiery furnace.
What has he prevented from happening or arising in your life?
So when God shows up he brings his presence and his prevention, and because of his presence and prevention we have peace. In the words of that great theologian Alicia Keys…
Some people want it all.
But I don’t want nothing at all.
If ain’t you baby.
If I ain’t got you baby.
Some people want diamond rings.
Some just want everything.
But everything means nothing.
If I ain’t got you.
And that is exactly how I feel about the peace of God.
I’m stress free if I have peace.
I’m worry free if I have peace.
I can relax if I have peace.
I can stand in the midst of the storm.
I can be cool calm and collective.
I can stay calm when all hell is breaking loose.
You did not see the three Hebrew boys freaking out.
Throwing a fit.
Losing their minds.
Cussing and fussing.
In the midst of being thrown into the fiery furnace they were as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Why? Because God showed up bringing his presence, his prevention, and his peace. And we all know that God provides a peace that passes all understanding.
So first of all God shows up and then God shows out. Now Jesus making an appearance in the fiery furnace is God showing up.
The fact that the three Hebrew boys were tied up when they were thrown into the furnace but unbound when Jesus shows up is God showing out.
The fact that the three Hebrew boys were not burned in the fiery furnace is God showing out.
The fact that the three Hebrew boys’s clothes were not damaged by the flames was God showing out.
The fact they they came out of the fire not smelling like smoke was God showing out.
The fact that they survived being in the fiery furnace was God showing out.
The fact that Jesus was walking around in the fiery furnace was God showing out.
I don’t know about you, but my God is all that. My God is all that, a bag of chips, and the dip on the side.
He could have just pulled the Hebrew boys out of the fire.
He could have just spoke their deliverance into existence.
But he showed up and showed out by walking with the Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire. And isn’t that exactly what God does for us?
The minute things heat up he’s right there with us.
The minute things get tough.
The minute things get rough.
The minute the hills get to hard too climb.
The minute the valley gets to low too get through.
The minute the river is too wide to cross.
That’s when God steps in and shows out and goes through with us. He shows out in three ways.
God shows out personally. Meaning he shows out just for me. He shows out just for you. Because of our personal relationship with God he shows out for us. Now many of us know how we respond to someone in need whom we have a personal relationship with.
For our friends we will show out.
For our church we will show out.
For our family we will show out.
For our children we will show out.
For our spouse we will show out.
So how much more will our father in heaven show out personally for each and everyone of his children?
Just for me.
Just for me.
Jesus came and did it just for me.
God shows out personally and then he shows out publicly. He is not ashamed of us so we should not be ashamed of him. I am sure that there were a number of observers at this fiery furnace event. Especially the haters that turned the three Hebrew boys in, in the first place, and God makes this public appearance. He shows out and let’s the world know that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego belong to him and he will protect his children. When people know that you belong to God, if they have any sense they will treat you a little differently.
They will show you a little respect.
They won’t do certain things around you.
They’ll stop cussing around you, drinking around you, doing drugs around you. That is if they have any sense. Because when Jesus shows out for you in a public way people know that you are his.
God shows out personally, God shows up publicly, and God shows out powerfully. He shows out personally, he does it just for you and me. Then he shows out publicly to show the whole world who he is and that we are his. Then he shows out powerfully. With his mighty hand. With his omnipresence. He is everywhere at the same time. That is why he was able to walk in the furnace with the three Hebrew boys and deliver them. He is omniscient, he knows all and sees all. That is why he could make it to Babylon in time to save the three Hebrew boys. And he is omnipotent. Having all power in his hands. And it was with this power that he rescued the three Hebrew boys and its is with this same power that he saves you and me.
It’s with this same power that he delivered us.
It’s with the same power that he picked us up.
It’s with the same power that he turned us around.
It’s with the same power that he placed our feet on solid ground.
It’s with the same power that he healed us.
It’s with the same power that he freed us from the bondage of sin.
Is anybody in the room excited about the fact that God shows out powerfully!
First God shows up, then he shows out, then he shows who he is. And this is such a pivotal point in the text because King Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of the babylonians heard about the God of the the Israelites.
They heard the rumors.
They heard the stories.
They new of this so called God.
His reputation had proceeded him.
But they did not actually know him. But after these three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace they they knew exactly who he was and what he was capable of doing. Because seeing him caused the king to stand to his feet look in the furnace and say. I thought there was three men in the furnace, but I see four, and one looks like the son of God. Then he gets the Hebrew boys out and he says if the people of any nation or language say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego they will be cut into pieces, and their houses turned into piles of rubble. For no other God can save this way. He showed who he was. And he does this in three ways.
He showed who he was through his positions. We all know and believe that God is three persons in one. The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. We refer to this as the Holy Trinity. And in this story God shows who he is in all three positions. Jesus the son, is in the furnace. The king acknowledged the father when he looked in the furnace and said the fourth one looks like the son of God. You cannot have the son without the father. And only the Holy Spirit could have kept the three Hebrew boys in the midst of this drama. And you all know exactly what I am talking about. God uses his positions to show us who he is. Sometimes he’s a father and he loves us and takes care of us. He disciplines us and protects us. Then other times he’s the son. He’s the brother we never had. He walks with us and talks with us. He intercedes for us. He died for us. And then he is also the Holy Spirit and he leads us. He guides us. He directs our paths. He shows us who he is through his positions.
He shows us who he is through his positions and then he shows us who he is through his posture. Posture is a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting, a particular way of dealing with or considering something, an approach or attitude. And I know the three Hebrew boys where so glad that God had the attitude and approach to stop by and pull them out of that fiery furnace. They were so glad that he sits high and he looks low. And because he sits high and looks low, he never slumbers or sleeps. He is always in the right position with proper posture to assist us whenever we need him.
Which leads me to my last point, he shows who he is in person. He is always in the right position, with proper posture, in order to move on our behalf in person. This is what he did for the three Hebrew boys.
Like I said earlier he could have spoke their deliverance.
He could have snapped his fingers and the fire would have went out.
He could have sent a heavy down pour to put out the fire.
He could have soften the king’s heart.
He could have turned the soldiers against the king.
He could have sent a host of heavenly beings to protect the three Hebrew boys.
But he showed up in person and said.
Not on my watch.
And there was one other time in particular when Jesus showed us who he was by being in the right position, the the proper posture, in person.
That day over 2000 years ago.
That day we will celebrate in a couple of weeks.
That day that we call Good Friday in spite of the fact that it was bad for our God. It was bad for his son.
That day when he hung on that old rugged cross for 6 long hours after being beat.
After being whipped.
After being spat upon.
After having his beard ripped out.
After being mocked.
After being ridiculed.
After being shamed.
After being abandoned.
Took this posture and died so that we could live.
They took him off the cross.
And buried him on Friday.
He laid their Friday night.
He laid there all day Saturday .
And early Sunday morning he got up with all power in his hands.
And he is still showing us who he is by being in the right position, with proper position, in person with his arms wide open waiting to receive us. I am telling you church. The reward is worth the risk!
My favorite part of this story comes in verses 17-18, When a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say, If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” And that’s the attitude we all should have when it comes to risk and reward. So my question to you this morning is do you have an even if he does not attitude this morning?
Are you going to risk it all today, even if he doesn’t?
Are you going to write that business plan?
Are you going to apply for the loan?
Are you going to apply to school?
Are you going to ask for the help that you need?
Are you going ask her out?
Are you going to say yes when he asks you out?
Are you going to share your story?
Are you gonna answer the call?
Are you going to go out on a limb?
Are your going to be the parent God has called you to be?
Are you going to be the spouse that your spouse needs you to be?
Are you going to rise above the hate?
Are you going to ignore the drama?
Are you going to give him glory?
Are you going to lift up his name?
Are you going to give him praise?
Are you going to give him worship?
The point of the matter is this beloved, we have to come to a point in our lives that even if we don’t get what we want from the Lord.
Even if we don’t get what we think we need from the Lord.
Even if we don’t get our desired outcome from the Lord.
Even if he does come the way we expect him.
That we understand that if he never does another thing for us he has already done enough for us to praise him the rest of our lives.
We understand that God is in control.
That God is sovereign.
That God knows what he is doing.
That God’s ways our not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts.
That all things work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to his purpose.
This is a concept that the three Hebrew boys were confident in.
They believed before Paul told the folks in Philippi, for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. In other words, if I live I’m with God and if I die I’m with God.
If I make it I’m with God, if I don’t make it I’m with God.
If I succeed I’m with God, if I fail I’m with God.
If if get up I’m with God, and if I fall I’m with God.
If I’m healed I’m with God, and if I’m not healed I’m with God.
If I get married I’m with God, if I stay single I’m with God.
If the marriage works I’m with God, if the marriage falls apart I’m with God.
If I get the job I’m with God, if I’m unemployed I’m with God.
If my dreams come true I’m with God, if my dream turns into a nightmare I’m with God!
No matter what the situation or the circumstance, I am with God. More importantly he is with me. He has my back. So go on and take that risk. I guarantee it’s worth the reward.
God will show up.
God will show out.
God will show who he is.