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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Faith In God
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Narrate the story of Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego,
ii. Discuss how the men demonstrated faith in God; and their miraculous deliverance,
iii. Discuss the effect of faith of the three men on the Babylonians and Jews,
iv. Recognise that laws or decrees can be made for selfish reasons by the leadership.
Faith And Courage (Daniel 3:1 – 30)
In the book of Hebrews 11:1 – 2, faith is defined as the “assurance hoped for; conviction of things not seen; by it men of God receive divine approval”. It is this conviction that produces in man, courage, firmness and total confidence in God. It is at this level of faith and absolute confidence in God that men received divine approval of God. Every impossibility became possible with such men. The Bible says in Luke 1:37, “with God all things are possible”. Such was the case of Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego whose faith and confidence in God was second to none. These men were Jews who were brought into captivity in Babylon. While in captivity; they still dedicated themselves to the worship of their God and strict observance of the ordinances and statutes of the God of Israel.
Due to the outstanding qualities in these men, they were appointed officials in the Babylonian kingdom. A situation came when Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image and invited all the officials in the provinces of Babylon to come for the dedication of the image. He ordered that when they heard the sound of the horn pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bag pipe and all kinds of music, all the officials from various provinces should fall down and worship the golden image which he had made. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the god and this made certain Chaldeans accuse and report them to the king. Nebuchadnezzar quickly summoned them and queries why they refused to worship his god. The men replied him thus:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning furnance; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But it not, be it known to you O king that we will not serve your god or worship the golden image which you have set up (Daniel 3:16 – 18).
Nebuchadnezzar was furious, he ordered that the furnace be heated seven times more than its normal heat. He ordered great men of his army to bind Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. The men were bound and cast into the furnance. The furnace was so hot that the flames consumed those men who cast the Jews into the furnance. The king was astonished when he discovered that the men were not hurt and, although, they had been bound but they were loose, hence he said:
“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and they are not hurt and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25).
Nebuchadnezzar asked the three men to come out of the fire and he made them stand in the presence of the satraps, perfects, the governors and the counselors; they all observed that the fire had no single effect on the men. The expression boldness, courage and faith by these Jews gave king Nebuchadnezzar the true picture of God and His authority as the God of Israel. The king said:
“Blessed be the God of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego who has sent his angels and delivered his servants who trusted in him and set at naught the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” (Daniel 3:28)
The King therefore, decreed that anybody that would ever speak against the God of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, should be destroyed together with his household. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego were promoted in the provinces. This was the profit of great faith, courage and confidence in God.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Define faith
ii. Discuss how Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego expressed faith and Courage in God
iii. List three lessons that can be learnt from the response of the three Jews towards king Nebuchadnezzar.
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