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Goodness (20) Mary Magdalene’s Goodness (3)
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“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and that He had said these things to her” (Jo ...

Goodness (6) Goodness of Daniel’s three friends

Manmin News   No. 730
November 06, 2022

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

On the succession of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, the united kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Over time the two countries left God and worshipped idols. It aroused God’s furor. As a result, Northern Israel fell due to invasion of Assyria, and Judah in South was also attacked by Babylon three times.

When the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, invaded the kingdom of Judah in 605 B.C., some of its leaders were taken as captives to Babylon; there were Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.

Although they were captives of Babylon, they didn’t forsake their faith in God but they exalted and glorified God instead with God-pleasing goodness. What was their goodness like?

1. They thoroughly hated what God hates

The king of Babylon tried to integrate the people of Israel into the society when they were first taken as captives. The king brought in some of the Jews from the royal family and the nobility, namely some young men showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, and quick to understand. He assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table for three years. Among those selected were Daniel and his three friends. At that time, it was a great joy and honor to be chosen as one of those men but they had one thing to worry about.

They were afraid that on the king’s table there would be some food that had been offered to idols or meat that had been regarded detestable before God. In Old Testament times the deeds of observing the law were very important. So, when they ate food that had been offered to idols or detestable meats, it was deemed a sin before God.

Daniel and his friends asked the chief of court officials to permit them to eat vegetables instead of the food assigned by the king. They proposed that the chief of court officials should let them eat vegetables and then compare them with other young men who would eat the food assigned to them from the king. After he agreed to this, he tested them for ten days and found they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. From then on they did not have to eat the royal food and wine.

God the Father gave them wisdom and blessing because they feared God and kept themselves according to His commands. God made them outstanding people as said in Daniel 1:17, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

As a result, Daniel and his three friends were chosen to serve the king and they were also recognized by the king. Daniel 1:20 reads, “As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found [Daniel and his three friends] ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.” God allowed them to be not twice, but ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers.

If you were in their shoes, namely, if you had been taken as a captive but you were treated well, could you refuse to be served with the royal food from the king’s table? It was not permitted or acceptable. Captives could not choose what they wanted, and it was difficult for them to reject the food assigned by the king just because it was not to their liking. However, Daniel and his three friends knew the food was not acceptable to God and did not compromise even though it seemed an inevitable situation. They fully detested what God deems detestable because they feared Him from the depth of their hearts. Moreover, they unchangingly wanted nothing to do with being defiled by the detestable food offered to idols, even as the time went by and they rose in position.

They were surrounded by a Gentile culture that had nothing to do with God and which sought only worldly pleasure and idol-worshipping that prevailed in the kingdom. Nonetheless, Daniel and his three friends sought after and obeyed the will of God with upright and unchanging hearts, so they were deemed pure in God’s sight.

I ask you to realize and resemble the goodness of the inner hearts of Daniel and his three friends who gave up good treatment, even as captives, and chose to eat vegetables. I hope that by doing so you will receive the wisdom of goodness that God gives to you.

2. They did not surrender before the life-threatening command to keep faith

The three friends were commanded to fall down and bow before an image of gold that the king of Babylon set up. If they did not fall down in homage before it, they would be thrown into a burning furnace. They did not surrender before the life-threatening command but chose death.

At that time their king became very furious and asked 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?” He said he would give them another chance to bow before it. He also threatened them saying, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” He tried to win their will and exercise power over them with threats and concession. But they flatly answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” They showed their firm willpower not to bow down before and worship an idol despite the threat of being led to death by being thrown into a blazing furnace.

So they courageously confessed, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.” They obviously and clearly proclaimed the almighty God to the king.

When they did not compromise at all despite the threats to their lives and maintained their trust in God, God considered it good. Their confession that would be deemed better is shown in the Bible. “But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even if God did not, that is to say, even if God would not save them from the blazing furnace, they still firmly confessed they would not worship idols. They did not confess it because they were not confident that God would save them. They believed God would be able to save them, but they confessed in their deep goodness that even if He would not save them, their trust in and love for God was and would remain steadfast.

That was because they fully trusted God who is the Master of their souls and could commit everything to God. It never mattered to them to die or live, but they were happy with the fact that they would follow the will of God.

They did not mean for God to reward them to the extent that they were expressing for Him. In the same way, when we meet with trials after we have done our God-given duties, if we do not complain or feel burdensome before life-threatening situations, God will deem our heart good.

God could control the king’s heart lest he should command his soldiers to throw the three men into the furnace. But actually, God allowed them to be thrown into it. He knew in advance that even if he did it, they would show the proof of their faith in their goodness. God the Father confirmed their faith with irrefutable proof, and blessed them as much, and then revealed His glory more greatly.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, although you face unexpected difficulties and afflictions, I urge you to try to be happy with the fact that you have sowed and acted with the faith in God and unchangingly thankful to God. I hope you will hate what God hates thoroughly without compromising even before the threat of taking your life. By doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will receive great and amazing blessing from God.




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