My family has loved doing advent devotionals for years, so I decided to write my own. I pray it blesses your family as much as it’s blessed mine.
Day 20: The Exile
Picture / Ornament: Fiery Furnace
Scripture: 2 Kings 17:6-12; 2 Kings 25:8-11; Daniel 3:1-4:3
Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Another Song: Through It All
Another Song: Though You Slay Me
God sent many prophets to the people of Israel, not only to tell them about the coming Savior, but also to warn them. God warned them to follow Him rather than chasing after false gods.
Do your parents ever warn you? Don’t touch the hot stove. Don’t eat too many cookies. Don’t stay up too late at night. Your parents warn you because they love you and want for your good. Likewise, God warns us because He loves us and wants for our good.
Despite all of God’s warnings, the people continued to worship idols and they refused to follow God’s commands. What if you don’t obey your parents’ warnings? You might get burned, or you might get a stomachache, or you might fall asleep in the middle of math class. Or your parents might have to discipline you, so you will obey them next time.
Because God’s people did not obey Him, they were invaded by other nations and taken off as captives to foreign lands. Three Israelite young men named Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken from Israel to a land called Babylon where King Nebuchadnezzar ruled. Even though these three young men were taken to a foreign land and given foreign names – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego – they continued to trust and follow the one true God.
When King Nebuchadnezzar made an enormous gold statue and demanded everyone worship it, these three young men refused. Even when King Nebuchadnezzar told them they would be cast into a burning fire, they still refused to worship this idol. They told the king, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 ESV)
God was with these men in the fire. God protected them, and they were unharmed by the fire’s flames. Even King Nebuchadnezzar saw God’s great power and decreed that no one could speak evil against the Most High God. King Nebuchadnezzar himself said, “How great are His signs, how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3 ESV)
Once again God was using for good even those things which evil men mean for harm. We can always trust God. Even if Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had perished that day, God would still have been with them, protecting their hearts and bringing them faithfully into His eternal kingdom.
Today is a perfect day to thank God for His everlasting Kingdom and His everlasting King, Jesus.
Remember … Christmas is all about Jesus.