Tested by Fire
The account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found in the third chapter of the book
of Daniel in the Old Testament humbles me. These three young men and Daniel were some of the captives taken from Israel when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem. They were without blemish and skillful in wisdom and were to be educated for three years in all the learning of the Babylonians so that they could serve in the king’s palace.
While the young men were in Babylon, king Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold and told the people that whenever they heard certain music playing, they were to fall down and worship the image. If anyone failed to do so, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar had put Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in charge of the province of Babylon. Some astrologers, perhaps jealous because of the position the three young men had attained, went and informed on the Jews, reporting to the king that they did not fall down and worship the golden image.
The king flew into a rage and brought in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to appear before him and gave them an opportunity to mend their ways. It is the courage of their answer that humbles me. Daniel 3: 16-18 NLT says, “…we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power…But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (italics mine).
Even if God didn’t deliver them, they would not back down and worship foreign gods. This causes me to ask myself a serious question. If God doesn’t answer my prayers as I feel He should, do I abandon His Word and His promises? Do I step away and say, “This believing God’s Word doesn’t work?” The three young men didn’t. They were willing to believe God to the death.
You know the rest of the story. Although they were thrown into the fiery furnace, the Scripture says that the fire had no power over them. Their hair was not singed and their clothes did not even smell of smoke. And when king Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he said, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace? Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” (verses 24 and 25). I believe that the fourth was the pre-incarnate Son of God who came and delivered them, circumventing the laws of nature and supernaturally protecting them from certain death.
What does this account have to do with us today in 2021? It reminds us that God is faithful to His promises. Psalm 138: 2b says that God has exalted His word above His name. If He has said it in His Word, He will do it. His Word is established forever. So don’t back down on the promises God has given you for whatever situation you’re facing. Don’t look at the contrary circumstances. Don’t be tossed about by the wind and the waves. Stand! And like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, your deliverance will come.
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In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.