5 Lessons from a Jewish youth group
By Bro Simon C.
Some time ago the tale of a small Jewish youth group was brought to my attention. That small Jewish youth group had been in a foreign country when temptation crept up on them. At first the temptation was light, then it got a little more serious. Some time after it literally became a life and death situation. One awesome thing to note is that made a habit of refusing the temptation offered them. And because of this they were able to deny it as it increased in intensity and were able to keep their faith unto the end.
I am speaking of course of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Yeah Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; a Jewish youth group taken captive to Babylon. Remember they were not willing participants of this circumstance, they were captives. Their city had been destroyed, their lives changed absolutely. One thing that did not change was the God they believed in. If we remember their story we can zero in on 3 key experiences that increasingly tested their faith:
Man shall not live by bread alone (Matt 4:4)
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank… But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank… (Dan 1:5-8)
Daniel, the first of the youth group clearly understood the purpose of the king, to defile those to whom he gave the food and drink. Daniel did not forget that he was a captive in Babylon, and a servant of God. Daniel was not about to enjoy his captivity. When they were offered the “good food” of Babylon it was an attempt to make them appear lofty/proud and cover their eyes to the fact that they were slaves in the kingdom of Babylon. This is the trick of the devil, to try and make his slavery sooooo appealing to our flesh that we will enjoy his slavery and follow the world while fully knowing that he has billions enslaved all around us, NO WAY! IN JESUS’ NAME! Those youth rejected to accept and enjoy the fruits of captivity picked by there relatives! And we should too! The blood of Jesus makes us free, we should learn to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts available to us from heaven.
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Matt 4:7)
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery,
and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made;well: (Dan 3:15)
This was the kings offer, to just go along with the crowd. This crowd included all the others who had given up through hopelessness. Imagine the social pressure of being the only 3 in front of the crowd at a public event not following the flow of things? There was music, a crowd, friends/neighbors/family members, it was a public event to worship the statue of the king. This world walks in the music, order and obedience of the devil, the church should not. The devil counts on the social pressure he tries to apply on God’s people hoping they will fold. As these brothers boldly stood together in front of the crowd we have also to remember that as the world see us, God sees us too. These brothers recognized what was happening and chose to stand with God rather than give in to a false unity.
Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matt 4:10)
…we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us…But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods…(Dan 3:16-18)
Because these brothers had already made a habit of rejecting the first two temptations of Babylon they were able to reject this temptation as well. They decided to keep their faith unto the end and were able to see/experience the glory of God. If at any point they had accepted the temptation they may have given in at the last. The Bible encourages us to“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Pet 5:8) Like these brothers we should not allow the devils temptations to come near our hearts. Neither should we be comfortable nor let the devil become comfortable with hanging around us. He is no friend! This Jewish youth group did not have to think twice about accepting temptations, their God was their shepherd, even in Babylon. Youth, stay strong in the will of God! And we will His glory come!
The 5 Lessons:
1. Our faith will be tested: in various ways, at various times in our lives: But if we know who we are in Christ everyone else will know it too. If we hide it we will be stepped on as salt that has lost it’s savor. (Matt 5:13) If we respect the lines and boundaries of our Christianity others will too as we have seen in the example of this small Jewish youth group.
2. If we refuse the small temptations we can refuse the big ones: the Bible tells us to grow in grace (2 Pet 3:18) , don’t receive grace and not grow, God is ALWAYS ready to fulfill his word and give grace, let’s accept the grace and the mission! If we make a habit of refusing the small temptations we can refuse the bigger and biggest ones without turning back or wavering. Our faith will grow when we make a habit of saying no.
3. Unity is strength: walk to the fire together! No turning back, no standing idle, not allowing our brothers and sisters to walk alone into the snares of the enemy. Be committed in the love of the Holy Ghost, support one another, be willing to communicate and be wiling to be corrected by one another, correction is so easy and such a blessing when we are humble! Unity is the aroma of humility. Know when to ask for help and when to give it, speak with love…Jesus will show his unity with 2 or 3! (Matt 18:20)
4. God is patient: he waited to show himself until the time of the fiery furnace: This is NO reason for doubt. Though he was present at all 3 temptations he did not show his power and resolve until his people were in the fire. He let them get to the point where they did ALL they possibly could and exhausted all options before he stepped in, in other words he let them exercise their faith or grow up in faith before he stepped in. As we are the body of Christ we should be aware to avoid the sickness of instant gratification the world is spreading. We must partake of his patience and be willing to learn to crawl before walking and learn to walk before running, always depending on our heavenly Father to provide the right response to our situation on His own time. Sometimes that means keeping the faith all the way to the furnace, but don’t worry our God is faithful!!
5. God controls the furnace: it is no accident that the only thing that burned up in the furnace was the ropes holding the three brothers bound. God allowed them to go into the furnace in order to burn the bondage: and after they were there loosed, standing and walking freely in the midst of the fire. Like so, when we trust God to take us through difficult times in our lives (the burning fiery furnace), whatever is currently holding us back from pursing the will of God will be burned up while we are left healthy and strong, walking in the midst of fire with our brothers, sisters and Jesus Christ. We will then joyfully learn to lean more on him and less on ourselves.
(God is able to strengthen us and or overcome, undo, dominate, turn around,crush any obstacle in the way of his young people serving Him.)
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Dan 3:24-25)
(ALL IMAGES TAKEN FROM GOOGLE)