Pure Gospel Magazine 2018 November, 2018 - Page 12

Sweetwater

Do You Know Him or Know About Him?

Ninevah, a city in the ancient Assyrian Empire, was located in Iraq on the east bank of the Tigris River. The capital of this dominant empire, this city was one of the most prominent of its time. It is estimated that the population ranged between 100,000 to 120,000, not including those roaming in and out on a daily basis for trade/business. The Bible teaches this city was guilty of bloodshed, full of lies, filled with plunder, and hoarded her spoil. The infamous city was not always full of sin. Jonah, a profit of God, preached judgment would come upon them unless their hearts repented and they turned from their wicked ways. We find that the city heads to the words of Jonah and repents. However, sometime between the prophet Jonah and Nahum, the people of the city forgot about the God of Jonah and returned to such a sinful place it was compared to Sodom and Gomorrah, and its wickedness was brought before God. They no longer knew him, only knew about him.

Now let’s go back in time approximately sixty-two years. We find a group of 3 men by the names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which are probably recognizable names to many. King Nebuchadnezzar had taken the people of Jerusalem to the heart of Babylon and forced them to deny the living God for a god made by the hands of men. The Bible says Nebuchadnezzar had a statue of gold created ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He then gathered all of his officials and instructed them to spread the

word that all will gather and fall to their knees

to worship when they hear the music played.

If any refused the King’s command, he or she

would be thrown into the blazing furnace.

The fiery furnace was most probably built

on the side of a hill with an opening in the

top and two on each side closer to the

base. These side openings allowed one

to see the inside of the furnace without

getting too close to be harmed. However,

on this particular day, the King had the

fire heated seven times hotter than

normal for the purpose of punishing

rebellion. When the music sounded,

all the people that were assembled

bowed down and worshiped as

commanded, all but 3.

One must keep in mind that the

people of Israel were those that

had heard about the great exile

from Egypt and the many battles and

miracles God had provided for his chosen people.

Even after God had told them on multiple occasions to be strong and courageous, they abandoned their commitment to God in the face of adversity.

The 3 Hebrew men took a stand for their God. They knew the God of the universe and were not ashamed to show their commitment. This infuriated the king. He demanded the furnace be heated 7 times hotter than normal in a fit of rage.