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Living in Exile

Posted by Ding Ying on

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.


Scripture:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[a] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  

Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)

Observation:

Back in Daniel 1:1-8, we learnt that Daniel and his three friends never lost their identity as God’s chosen people, when taken from Jerusalem to exile in Babylon.

They were first brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court to be trained in Babylonian culture for three years. But they cleverly negotiated a distinctive diet to prevent themselves from being lured into the temptation of the king’s luxurious lifestyles. This reminded themselves that they were Jewish exiles in a foreign land and must depend on God instead of King Nebuchadnezzar. 

While serving in exile, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were again pressured to worship a golden image which represented the pride and arrogance of King Nebuchadnezzar.

When brought before the King, they remained ‘stubborn’ in their faith and would rather die in the fiery furnace than worship an idol. Furious, bound them and threw them into the furnace, seven times hotter than usual.

The flame killed the soldiers while the three walked out unsinged and unharmed. In fact, a fourth person was seen in the furnace, demonstrating God’s presence and protection. This opened the king’s eyes and humbled him before the true God of Israel.

In the end, the trio escaped the fire unscathed and were promoted in the province.

Application:

Daniel and friends reminded me that we are citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom currently in exile on this earthly kingdom.  Therefore, we are not to get too comfortable with our temporary lives on earth and lose sight of God’s glory in eternity. 

We are to always act and reflect God’s values when dealing with issues whether at home, at the workplace, in our neighbourhoods and sometimes, nationwide.

God’s value system is one of sacrificial love for the benefit of others.  Sacrifice means to give up something of value for the sake of someone else. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego gave up their lives to obey God’s commandments. Even though they were familiar and adapted to life among pagans, they did not lose their identity as God’s chosen people. 

Likewise, we must never conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ Jesus.  As people of God, we will need to constantly reject elements of pride, arrogance, selfishness, privileges, supremacy, thoughtlessness, and injustice that are encroaching all levels of society.  This world needs the gospel of truth as the gold standard for all that is good, pleasing and reflecting God’s perfect will. 

Response:

Lord Almighty, I thank You for Your saving grace and Your message of hope for this broken world. 

Without Your unconditional love, humanity would only deteriorate to its own peril. Instill in me a resolute boldness to stand up and fight for what is right before Your eyes, always seeking to honour You above self and ambition. Help me to focus on the things that matter to You.

Empower me to bring the gospel to the lost and needy with greater urgency and fervor.  Let my trial in exile be a pleasing aroma unto You.  In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.


Ding Ying is Zone Leader with PJ North 5.

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.