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February 16, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.”—Daniel 3:13 (ESV)
Driven by an insatiable desire to be worshipped, Nebuchadnezzar is furious at the notion that anyone under his rule would refuse to worship the image set up to represent him. In the past, he would have surely executed any such dissenters without any further discussion.
But these men were different. These were the Jews who had accompanied Daniel as the dream Nebuchadnezzar had been divinely given was miraculously revealed to him. There was something different about these subjects. They were connected to something supernatural, so the king calls them forward to repeat his ultimatum, to give them a second chance: “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready . . . to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?’” (Daniel 3:14-15 ESV).
Undoubtedly, Nebuchadnezzar thought he was being a nice guy here. How gracious to offer these men another opportunity to worship him! But in reality, he’s mirroring something that Satan does in the life of each and every Christian.
In our walk of faith, there will be many opportunities to compromise our convictions; to say what we shouldn’t, to watch what we shouldn’t, to think what we shouldn’t, even to worship what we shouldn’t. But we also find that as the Holy Spirit does His work in our lives, we will often resist these temptations to compromise and hold fast to our convictions.
But, then there’s the subsequent reality that for each spiritual victory, there’s a second chance to compromise our convictions. As Nebuchadnezzar gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego a second chance to worship what they shouldn’t, our tempter will engineer things so we, too, get another chance to do what we know we shouldn’t.
The test of temptation is not a “one and done,” it’s ongoing, which is why we need to be continually filled with God’s Spirit so we can not only recognize the temptation when it’s presented to us, but to overcome it (Ephesians 5:18). God’s Spirit within us is more than equal to every temptation we will face, and by His strength and grace we can walk worthy of our high calling in Christ.
DIG: What does Nebuchadnezzar’s “second chance” represent on a spiritual level?
DISCOVER: How can you relate to the tempter giving you a second chance?
DO: Do a self-check-up today. Ask yourself, “What’s the prescription for meeting the test of temptation? How am I doing with this?”