THE FIERY FURNACE

In Daniel chapter 3, we read about King Nebuchadnezzar who made a golden image and set it up in the province of Babylon. He commanded all the people from different nations and languages, as soon as they heard the sound of music going through the land, to bow down and worship the golden statue. Now there were three Jews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to bow down before the Statue or serve any other god apart from the one true God. When the king heard of this he was filled with rage and fury.

He commanded the three men to be brought before him. He tells them “if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Daniel 3:15 NKJ). ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. BUT IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the image which you have set up.”’ (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJ). How great is this faith? To not only obey the commands of God rather than the commands of man, but also trusting in God no matter what He chooses to do with our lives.

Dear reader, perhaps your fiery furnace is a sickness, financial difficulties or circumstances that are beyond your control and seem impossible to handle. Perhaps this world is cheering you on to bow down to the things that take your eyes away from God. Keep this in mind, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 NKJ). Perhaps you desire something and have been pleading with God to grant you your wish.

Learn to say – If God does not heal me from this sickness, I will not bow down to the statue. If God does not save me from my financial difficulties, I will not bow down to the statue. If God does not give me the thing which I’ve been longing for, I will not bow down to the statue. No matter how much this world tries to tempt me and lure me in to its temporary pleasures, I WILL NOT BOW DOWN. I will trust that His ways are always higher and His plans are always good no matter the sacrifice. ‘But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him’ (Luke 12:15).

‘Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valour who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counsellors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God’ (Daniel 3:19-25).

Perhaps God will not save you from the fiery furnace, but He will give you the strength to get through it – and He will be there with you in the midst of your trials. So ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and He shall direct your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ). Perhaps sometimes you are fearful that God’s plans for your life may not be aligned with what you desire or choose for yourself. Remember that God is the one who sees the future and He knows what will truly be good for you.

Sometimes you may fervently pray about certain desires, but God tells you no. This ought to not discourage you but rather fill your heart with many thanks that your Father is protecting you and knows what you truly need! ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28 NKJ). Remember that as soon as the devil can see that you will not bow down, he will turn the heat up. But take heart, ‘For whatever is born of God overcomes the world’ (1 John 5:4 NKJ).

Believe that God can save you from your difficult circumstances, but have that faith that is persuaded of the one whom it believes in no matter the outcome. Know who the object of your faith is – the one who sees and knows all things –the one who has your best interest at heart. The devil seeks to hurt and destroy, saying – ‘God doesn’t love you nor does He want to bless you. Look at your circumstances; look at the troubles you are facing’. But we know that the devil is the king of lies and wants us to look to our problems rather than keeping our eyes on Jesus.

As long as we look to ourselves and look around us, we will see nothing but failure, uncertainty and shame that causes us to be discouraged or fearful. But we should rather look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith (Hebrews 12:2). Remember that trials and hardships produce perseverance; therefore these circumstances grow our faith and we often come out of the trial stronger than we were before. God is often glorified through the fiery furnaces in life. It takes trials for God to purify us and to set our eyes on Him so that we are fully dependent on Him alone. God does not put us through hardships because he wants to hurt us, but rather because he wants to work in us and through us so that He may be glorified.
‘Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon’ (Daniel 3:28-30).

‘The Lord will honour those who honour Him’ (1st Samuel 2:30). We pray for God to strengthen our faith, but sometimes our faith is strengthened through the fire itself. May we learn from the faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had, and say- Lord, even if you do not save me from the fiery furnace, I will not turn away from you, I will not give in to the pressures of this world, I will not bow down- but i will trust in your perfect will for my life. Just as gold is purified by fire, trust that once you come out of the furnace, you will be refined through the flames and your faith will be made stronger.

Evelen

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