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Monday, September 15, 2008

Through The Fire

I was in a ladies’ Bible study one evening when the leader posed a question,” Who is your favorite person in the Bible and why?”

We took a few moments to write down our person and shared with the group. (Jesus not included; that one’s obvious.)

“Daniel,” I shared when it came my turn, “because Daniel purposed in his heart to do what was right in the sight of God.”

Daniel is still my favorite person in the Bible, besides Jesus. In the last few months of my life, three of Daniel’s friends have gotten my attention.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were Daniel’s friends. They, like Daniel, had chosen to worship Jehovah, the one true God.

When told to bow down to another god, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. This act of rebellion to the king’s orders was punishable by death. Still, the three stood in their unwavering faith to God.

They were sent to the furnace to perish. Before they were taken away, they shared their testimony with King Nebuchadnezzar.

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, 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, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3: 16-18 NLT

These young men believed God. Notice that they knew God was able to save them, but were also prepared if He did not. Facing the most grim and torturous possibility, they were willing to accept God's Will.

We often ask God to remove us from “the fiery furnace” or trial in our life. Our furnace may be financial struggles, relationship issues, or sometimes a fatal disease. Many times God does remove us from the situation by providing for us financially, mending a broken friendship immediately, or healing cancer.

Most of us have the faith that God is able to rescue us, but are we prepared when He chooses not to? Are we prepared when God (sometimes temporarily) allows us to enter into a trial, a "furnace" in our lives?

We know that in the end, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were protected and emerged from the fire unscathed, but there is so much more to the story.

“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted, “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!” Daniel 3: 25

It has been discussed that the fourth man may have been preincarnate Christ or an angel. Either way, someone Heavenly walked through the fire with three young men prepared to die for their God.

God not only protected them from the flames. He was by their sides the entire time.

In my own life, when the fire gets too hot, I often pray and ask God to remove me from the furnace. Sometimes the heat seems impossible to bear. All I want to do is escape and I can't understand why God won't give me a way out. I have realized that sometimes God chooses not to rescue me by removing the flames, but by protecting me and staying beside me through the fire.

After Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived the flames, King Nebuchadnezzar, witnessing the miracle, praised and acknowledged the Most High God. The King witnessed God's faithfulness and believed.

I still love Daniel. In his youth, He chose to always follow God before he was tempted to do otherwise. Now, I also want to be more like his friends, three young men who knew their God was able to save, were bold in their testimony before unbelievers, and who were unafraid to literally walk through fire.

God is able to save. Yet, for reasons we do not understand on this side of Heaven, he may allow us to enter in the "furnace." Just like Daniel's friends, we can endure the furnace because God is there with us, every step of the way. He may rescue us; He may allow us to suffer.

No matter the results, God is faithful to stay with us on our walk. When He does, others around us will see the one true God, the "divine being" walking with us through that fire. They may come to praise Him as the Most High God, just like King Nebuchadnezzar.

He's with you, friend. Trust Him today to walk with you- even through the fire.

Questions for reflection:

Have you suffered through your own type of "furnace?"

How has God shown you His Faithfulness?

Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."

If you are going through a trial right now and would like prayer, please email or leave us a note in the comments. We would be honored to pray for you.

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Blogger Julie said...

It's in the furnace, where the fire seems too hot that the dross of my life has been burned off. Though the discomfort of it all seems unbearable sometimes that which I gain is priceless.

Thanks for sharing this post. It was beautiful.


September 15, 2008 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Smelling Coffee said...

What a powerful message and reminder. Thank you for this! I've seen God rescue us from the fire and I've seen Him in the furnace with us. Either way, He was/is faith-full, and doesn't change, PTL!!!

I pray that my children will be like Daniel and have friends with a faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

September 15, 2008 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Yes, I have been through a few fires thus far in my life. I am still here and walking the journey. Slowly, but surely. Thanks, Cindi

September 15, 2008 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger JesusRulzMe said...


I just love your devotionals!

Yes, God has seen me through 13 years of abuse by my entire family. It was like having the Red Sea parted before me every day for all 13 years! It was scary, but God always proved to be mightier than what I could see right before me.

I should've never survived, but God is sovereign and had already predestined me for His be His child!

I often tell people, "I've known horrors, I've known fears. I've known persecution, I've known terrible heartaches. And I know Jesus Christ, who has proved to be greater than them all!

Bless you sister!

September 15, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger DeeDee said...

I love this story too...

and I love the fact that the only thing burned in the fire was the ties that bound them.

And true for us too...
our fires are usually the tool to set us free from what binds us.


September 15, 2008 at 9:43 PM  

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