“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, Your Majesty.” 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 …..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. ” Excerpt from Daniel, Chapter 3 NIV
I awoke too early this morning and for some reason had the story of Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) in the furnace on my mind. When they walked through that fire, they didn’t get burned. It’s an incident perfect for a “movie of the week” depicting the darkness of man’s heart, of favour, intrigue, failure, jealousy, repudiation, steadfastness and truth.
Basically Dan and his friends were favorited by the king, set up to fail by their enemies and when push came to shove, had to choose between doing what man wanted them to do (deny their allegiance to the one and only God) or stay steadfast in their faith at the risk of death.
They passed. The others had a magnificent fail…. and as I read through the passage again I saw some most excellent lessons to be found in this passage.
1. Daniel didn’t see this coming (do we ever see trouble coming)?
2. He stayed true to his faith in the midst of hardship and prayed through it. (When things don’t go my way can I say the same)?
3. He trusted God even though the fire was HOT. (Like life can be).
4. He realized this white-hot situation was out of his control. (We all tend to be control freaks but he let go and let God).
5. He believed that God would not fail him. (He trusted even when the odds were against him).
6. He trusted that the fire would not physically harm them. (He survived the conflagration).
7. His faith was strengthened.
8. His steadfastness in extreme distress was a witness to the King and others.
9. He was restored by both God and man.
10. God did not stop the trouble from happening but used it for good and held those who tried to hurt Daniel responsible.
11. The Final message of this passage is, “what man meant for evil – God meant for good.”
I find it curious that many “modern” theologians and or naysayers like to poke holes in some of these “impossible Bible stories” which are likened to myths; but even so, that very sentiment is exactly the message of this story. What seems impossible in man is very possible with God and that is why we are given these scriptures to ruminate over.
In 21st Century sentiments, “you got a believe to see￼.” And once we do, we “see” the truth and power of God’s presence in your life and mine. Oh what a difference it makes in life. Then and only then will we be able to walk through the fires too, knowing full well we are not alone. ￼￼
Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” John 20:29 The Message
Amen and Amen.