Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace…
but who is that other figure?
“They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”
|God Walks Through Fire With You…
In a land we now call Iraq, an arrogant despot named King Nebuchadnezzar ordered all to bow to a golden image he set up outside the capital city of Babylon. Those who didn’t bow down would be thrown into a red-hot fire pit.Three Jewish refugees for Jerusalem refused to obey. ‘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’ (Daniel 3:17-18).
The enraged king ordered the Jews thrown into the furnace. But a strange thing happened. The soldiers who threw the three young men into the furnace were themselves burned to death. The three Jews didn’t even get their hair singed. The crowd gasped, the king was shocked, because in the midst of the fire appeared to be four men, not three, walking around unharmed.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith God could deliver them. Scripture contains few more heroic words than, ‘But even if he does not…’ (verse 18). The three refugees confidently proclaim: ‘If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it’ (verse 17).
They knew God does not always make things comfortable for his followers. God may not save us from going into the fiery furnace or heal us or make us prosperous, but the presence of Jesus Christ provides safety in the middle of blazing tribulation. He walks trough fire with us.
Though three Jewish young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, survived the fire without even the smell of smoke on them, we won’t always feel as if we have escaped.
The greats of Hebrews 11 went to their deaths —- battered and burned, through the fire, to the limit. To them faith was not a cushion to fall back on, but a driving energy. Their eyes were placed firmly on their Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In the The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen writes that Jesus Christ is with us, ‘not after all our misery is passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here where we are standing.‘
What fires are you fighting? Do you wish you knew how your fiery trial will end?
Sometimes we have to walk through the fires of life longer than we want to and wait for God’s time to bring us out. Paul waited to have his affliction removed. Noah waited in the ark. Joseph spent years in prison.
As we persevere through the pressure, trusting God during impossible situations, we don’t have to wait with unmoved resignation or dry-eyed stoicism.
‘As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are often contending with God. They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than shut God out,’ penned Philip Yancey in Disappointment With God.
After pleading with God, through tears and anxiety, we can break through to a new level of confidence. God will supply us with renewed knowledge of him and assurance that he has heard us and is in control of our lives. Allow Christ to replenish you daily with his boundless grace and sustaining strength. Our hope in him will not be disappointed.
If we call on God, he will be there in our times of trouble. God will never let us walk through the fire alone.
Below I’ve included an excellent devotional message from Worthy Ministries, in Israel, on how God prepares His people and trains them for His serivice.
As I read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and their ordeal in the fiery furnace, what comes to mind is another scripture: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
How often in the course of our lives do we question God, as to why our struggles seem so hard; and sometimes even we may wonder if God is still with us, or whether He still listens to our prayers?
This experience has been termed by some “The dark night of the soul,” and it is a common occurrence to anyone who has enlisted in God’s service.
It even happen to our Master, the Lord Jesus, in His wilderness experience; and the Bible says even of Jesus that “He learned obedience through the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).
As I read and understand my Bible, it is not God’s intention to make us comfortable in this life, as much as it is to train us for His service, and to build us up and strengthen us for the battles we are going to have to fight.
God is more about teaching us how to have SHALOM (peace) in the midst of our battles; and that sort of peace doesn’t happen without having had the experience of walking through the fiery furnace of our life, just as our three Hebrew brethren had to do.
You will note that God didn’t keep them from the fire; but He did walk with them through it; and so is He will be with you and I today, in our trails.
After all, His promise to us is as follows: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'” (Heb 13:5-6)
We must understand that we are in a war, and all wars are serious business, and all wars inevitably will have casualties.
Do you remember the story about Gideon, and how God told him to weed out those who didn’t have the inclination or heart for battle?
2 And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’
3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.'” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.”
5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water.
One of the things I learn from this and also other examples that are given in the Bible, is that often God is testing us by our circumstances; and most times when God is testing us we won’t even have a clue that is what is happening.
In the above example, let us note how God separated the 300 from the others. It was those who had their minds on the battle, who were chosen; and the ones who were all about themselves and their own lives were eliminated.
That one fact brings me to the admonishment which Jesus gave to His disciples, that also applies to us, when He told them to… “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves;” and also as the Apostle Paul warned us not to be ignorant of the enemy’s devices, his strategy and his battle plans, his mode of operation, as all these things can clearly be learned if we would but study the scriptures.
And finally we are also admonished in scripture to “Let this mind be in us, that was also in Christ Jesus our Lord!“ (Phil 2:5) Selah
From: Worthy Ministries [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 4:30 AM
Subject: Worthy Brief – 6/21/2010