April 5, 2019
Tomorrow, I plan on giving a sermon on the subject of “healing.” For tonight’s Brethren Letter, I felt that these paragraphs written by Mr. Armstrong in the booklet, The Plain Truth About Healing, would be a good review prior to my sermon.
Please have a good night’s rest.
Your Brother in Christ,
Faith Necessary for Obedience
The true commandment-keeper is forced to trust God to make obedience possible. And thus faith does not void, but establishes, the law! And to keep the law requires FAITH!
A thrilling example of this eternal truth is recorded in the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, erected a great golden image.
“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the [band] … ye fall down and worship the golden image …” (Daniel 3:4-5). “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (verse 6).
Set over the affairs of the province of Babylon were Daniel’s three young Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. One of the commandments of God’s eternal spiritual law forbids such worship of images.
Had you been in their place, what would YOU have done? Would you not have said: “Well, I have to bow down to this image. I have to do it or be killed!” And perhaps you would have excused yourself by reasoning thus: “I don’t think God would be fair if He punished me for this, when He knows I am FORCED to do it. Anyway, He tells us to be subject to the power of state!” Yes, it is easy to use reason to excuse disobedience to God. But God is not looking for chances to punish us — but rather for opportunities to SAVE US THROUGH FAITH — TO SAVE US FROM THE FOLLY OF SIN and the sad consequence our own acts impose!
God’s law is intended to protect us from suffering. Whatever we sow we shall reap. It is not God who punishes us when we do wrong; it is merely our own acts rebounding like a boomerang!
But these three young Jews knew the truth — that we should OBEY God rather than men; that through FAITH God makes it possible. When they firmly REFUSED to bow down to worship the king’s image, Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded they be brought before him (verse 13).
Listen to the quiet, trusting, unafraid answer of these lads. “… O Nebuchadnezzar … our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace …” (verses 16-17).
A Test of Faith
Sometimes God tries our faith. He tried theirs. You might think He failed them, but He only permitted their faith to be tested.
“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed … therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated … Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments” — surely the God whom they trusted would have them released now? But no, there was no physical evidence whatever that God so much as heard! — “and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace” (verses 19-21).
The furnace was so hot the flames leaped out and “… slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.” And they fell down “… bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace” (verses 22-23).
God permitted them actually to be thrown in! Was He unmindful of those who trusted in Him to make possible the keeping of His commandments? Not God!
The king looked into the furnace 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” (verse 25). So Nebuchadnezzar came near the mouth of the furnace and called to them. “… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire … these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and DELIVERED his servants that TRUSTED IN HIM … (Verses 26-28).
There was an example of living FAITH — a faith that TRUSTED God to make it possible to live the way of His law! Yes, WITH God it is possible to keep all His commandments. Don’t let any man deceive you to the contrary.