Today's message, "Walking in the Spirit," will focus on Daniel 3 and the mountain-moving faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Following are Scriptures and key points to guide you. Feel free to add your own notes.
Mountains Will Move when We are Walking in the Spirit
There are ways to live so that God’s Spirit’s work in our lives is obvious… and when God’s Spirit is that present… Mountains Will Move.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They didn't live their lives ‘walking in the Spirit’ just when everything was going their way! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's homeland had been conquered; they’d been hauled off to a distant and strange land; they’d had their identities changed and forced to learn a new language and culture; they’d been hated, mistrusted, plotted against, ratted on and now they were facing death!
Truth #1: Belief that God Is Present
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived in the belief that God was present even in a foreign, godless land. Everyone in the ancient world except the Jews believed that the gods stayed in one place. When you are walking in the Spirit it is a given that God is not only present but that He will speak to you and guide you and He will give you the courage and the strength you need.
Truth #2: Belief in the Goodness of God
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego trusted that whether they lived or died God would be good to them. Ruth Haley Barton, in her book Pursuing God’s Will Together, said essentially this: Many of us don’t believe in God’s goodness enough to trust God with the things that are most important to us. We need to live believing that God’s will is the best thing that can happen to us under any circumstances. ‘Walking in the Spirit’ is always believing that God meant it when He said, “...I know the plans I have for you...plans for your welfare and not for harm” (Jer. 29:11 NRSV).
Truth #3: Commitment to Do the Will of God
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego obviously committed themselves to obeying God. When we live with a deep commitment to doing God’s will, He will show up and move mountains!
Truth #4: Commitment to Look for God in Action at all Times
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were simply waiting to see, not what the King might do to them, but what God was going to do for them…They were walking in the Spirit.
Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Walking in the Spirit means living in the conviction that you are surrounded by, enveloped by, literally inhabited by the presence of the God of the Universe.