This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Aug 22nd 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Trusting God in Trials
It is important to share testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives, it encourages others who are going through similar things in their life. Let’s keep encouraging and sharing testimonies.
When we live on earth we will face trials and challenges, like we heard people share, we will face challenges and trials. We come to God’s word to look at how we should navigate through these times, as Christians what should be our mindset. Some Christians believe that once they come to Christ, all their troubles will come to an end. Think of Lazarus in the Bible, Jesus raised him from the dead, did his problems go away? No, Jews wanted to kill him because so many were coming to faith because of this miracle. All those who first believed were persecuted. Apostle Paul himself faced hardships, persecution, shipwreck etc.
We are going to look at an account from the OT today, and my focus today is on what our response should be to trials and troubles and tribulations. How should we as Christians respond to those things?
Daniel Chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar built a 90 ft tall image of Gold and he called all the important people, prefects, governers etc, then he had music,
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,[a] and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. 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.
So this is what he did, set up and Idol, and told all the people in the kingdom to worship the image, there were 3 people Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to bow down to the idol, cause they believed as mentioned in Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments, 20: And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
God’s word says do not make an idol, and these three refused to bow to the idol, the punishment for disobedience was to be thrown into the fire. (Dan 3:8-10)
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.”
What a wonderful reputation to have.
What great faith they had! There is a second part (Verse 18)
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.”
That is solid faith!
Even if He does not rescue us, we will still follow Him. Many times we come to God with conditions and deals with God, “if you do this, I will do this”. But solid faith is like this, even if our prayers are not answered, we are still going to follow God and do the right thing. “I am going to hold on to You”.
The question is, will we hold on to God when we are going through challenges?
God promises to deliver us, but His timing and our timing is different. And His ways of deliverance and ours is different.
Let’s see what God did in the situation, it builds up our faith, in verse 19 onwards
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace 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.”
Miracle 1: the soldiers who tied them died, but they didn’t! we miss this sometimes, but this is amazing.
Here we see this wonderful account, where God came when His people stood up and refused to bow to an idol. We marvel at this account and we’ll draw out some truths.
Why? Why do we face these situations, trials, tribulations?
God allows trials in our lives because He wants us to grow in our dependence on Him. 2 Cor 1: 8-9
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
In our difficult situations, God wants us to draw close to him and rely on him even more. We have to learn to rely on God in the difficult situations and even in the good times to rely and depend on God.
Verse 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Praying in difficult situations is important, we need to pray for one another.
2nd: To develop our Character.
5: 3-5 3 Not only so, but we[c] also
glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
People who go to gym understand this, no pain no gain, Paul says we rejoice in our sufferings! Why? Because God is doing something in you, suffering develops perseverance, and that produces Character.
James 1:2-4, Perseverance develops maturity. If we understand what’s happening we can cope better and this is what is happening: God is at work in our lives, He wants us to develop your character, he wants to you to become mature and be complete and not lacking anything.
3rd: What do challenges and trials bring?
1 Pet 6:7 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. –
so the third reason is so that our faith may refined and purified. Somebody said this: “Christians are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they are till you put them in hot water.” Till we face a challenge we don’t know whats our character is like.
In conclusion to this first section on why we go through tough challenges, Jesus himself said in this world we will face troubles and tribulation, but we go through them because, 1. To increase our dependence on him, 2. To develop our character and 3. To refine and purify our faith.
Now we look at what our response is to be:
First: Be joyful, we need to change our mind set, we need to know God is working in me, developing my character. In the midst of all the challenges, we are going to rejoice in God.
Second: We need to invite God into our situation. We pray to God that we are removed from the situation, yes, but like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we need God to be with us while we are in that situation. Isaiah 43: 1-2 says
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob,he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. God is saying I will be with you.
We may hear whispers “God doesn’t hear your prayers” but we need to say “God I am in a difficult situation, come be with me”
Third: We seek Him, His Kingdom and His righteousness. Not be fair weather Christians, but in all situations we seek Him and His Kingdom. Continue to trust God, have faith.
We will face challenges, we will have troubles, we will have tribulations, but in all these God is developing our character, we continue to depend on him, we seek Him and we continue to worship Him. No matter what we are going to serve God. In His time and His way He will bring deliverance.