Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Daniel 3: 14 - 20, 91 - 92, 94 - 95
King Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and sent for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were promptly brought before the king. King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God that can deliver you out of my hands?"
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up."
Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more that usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered. "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God."
When the satraps, prefects, governors, and nobles of the king came together, they saw that the fire had had no power over the bodies of these men; not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor were their garments altered; there was not even a smell of fire about them. Nebuchuanezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God."
Psalm response: Daniel 3: 52 - 56
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever.
John 8: 31 - 42
Jesus then went on to say to those Jews who believed in him:
"If you live according to my teaching, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set your free."
"We are descendants of Abraham," was their answer. "Never have we been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be free'?" Jesus answered them:
"I give you my assurance, everyone who lives in sin is the slave of sin. No slave has a permanent place in the family, but the son has a place there forever. That is why if the son frees you you will really be free. I realize you are one of Abraham's stock. Nonetheless, you are trying to kill me because my word finds no hearing among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father's presence; you do what you have heard from your father."
They retorted, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus told them:
"If you were Abraham's children, you would be following Abraham's example. The fact is, you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I have heard from God. Abraham did nothing like that. Indeed you are doing your father's works!"
They cried, "We are no illegitimate breed! We have but one father and that is God himself." Jesus answered:
"Were God your father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and am here. I did not come of my own will; it was he who sent me.