13 January 2016
Daniel, Shadrach, Mechach & Abednego had a powerful friendship through which God changed the empire of Babylon. How can their relationships draw us closer to Jesus?
During the service yesterday Angie Allen brought a prophetic word from the book of Daniel. It concerned a time when four close friends, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were facing certain death. The King of Babylon had chosen and appointed these four young Jewish men, along with a number of others in his Babylonian empire, to be his administrators, advisers and wise men. However when some of these four men’s colleagues were unable to translate a disturbing dream, the King threatened all his leaders including the four friends with execution. Furthermore the King had not told any of his advisers the details of the dream. The four Jewish friends showed extraordinary peace, courage and faith in the face of such unreasonable despotism. They simply took the problem to God, and received what they needed: revelation of the dream and interpretation. They praised God for His answer before they had even had their insights confirmed. And indeed their faith was not presumptuous – on hearing their interpretation the King was astounded that they knew His dream and interpretation. He retracted his order to execute all his leaders, promoted these four men and worshipped the God of Daniel himself.
These men were extraordinarily close: they had a shared history of being exiled from their own country as teenagers, and being forced to train together to serve a King in an entirely alien culture. The depth of their shared history and friendship ensured that they were able to support each other, take a risk and see a significant turnaround in an extremely traumatic situation. We are seeking to develop in Hope such levels of faith-filled friendship within groups of 3s and 4s (or more). We would love everyone in Hope to connect within such a group. We would recommend that each of us pray and either connect with those God has already been bringing to mind, or connect with us and ask to be placed in a group.
Our desire is that each close friendship group demonstrates the following indicators to ensure we are all walking in healthy levels of transparency:
1) A small number of people know what God is growing in my life
2) A small number of people know what areas I am seeking to overcome in
3) I will confess my sins to God, and receive His forgiveness in front of a small number of people.
4) A small number of people will challenge me when they see something they think I am missing
5) A small number of people will cover my back when I am taking risks with God
We would like to remember these five indicators through the five key words:
Growth, Overcoming, Confession, Challenge, Risk
As we seek to press into the fullness of what God has for us in our friendships, we can be certain that we will be able not only to stand but also to see breakthrough when we, too, are faced with challenging circumstances.