Read Daniel 3:1-18
Confidence has a profound impact on the decisions which we make and the actions which we take. The converse of this is that a lack of confidence has a profound impact in both in an opposite manner. A person with confidence is more decisive; a person lacking confidence is often hesitant. There is a boldness which is visible with a confident person. The unconfident individual frequently is meeker. The source of confidence varies and often is dependent upon the dynamics of any given situation.
Today we read a portion of a usually familiar Biblical story, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This story takes place during the time of Israel’s exile. The Israelites were defeated and were scattered as slaves throughout the Babylonian kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. The king creates golden idols and issues an edict that when signaled, all people in the kingdom must kneel before and worship the idol gods. The king had given authority to three Israelites which caused jealousy to arise among the Babylonian leaders. When they saw the three Jewish men not following the king’s edict, the leaders saw on opportunity to rid themselves of the three men so they reported the disobedience to the king. When questioned by Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego showed confidence in God and their faith. They were confident that God would save them from the fiery furnace since they remained true to God’s command. God was the source of their confidence.
Having confidence in a dangerous situation can be difficult. The three men in the story had to choose if they would be faithful to God or follow the king’s order so that their safety would be guaranteed. Faced with a similar situation in which you must choose to be committed to God or save one’s self from a dangerous situation, what would the choice be? You may not often be in a predicament which threatens you physically but what about the times where your reputation, status, or power may be threatened? If you have confidence in God and in your faith, your decisions will reflect that confidence.
9 “As I looked,“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 (NIV)
We do not speak much about visions these days. In fact, we are very skeptical when someone says they may have had a vision. The concept of having a vision seems to be something relegated to pre-enlightenment times when superstition and ignorance prevailed. However, we continue to share dreams we have had while sleeping the night before. Most of us can recall details of daydreams which we have had. Dreams and daydreams are the same as the visions recorded in the Bible. Visions continue today but we call them by a different name. We also respond to them differently, at least on the surface.
A vision is shared with us in the passage from Daniel. In this vision we are transported to God’s throne room. An image of God seated on the throne is detailed for us. Then the vision includes the Son of Man approaching the throne where he receives all power and authority as he begins his eternal kingdom.
Daniel’s vision is one which we eagerly wish to see played out before us. It is a vision full of hope and promise. The vision will be reality in God’s time. The day is coming when the kingdom is fully established forevermore. Our Lord will reign not only in our hearts but in every aspect of life for everyone. The reign will be one of love and peace.