“And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in.” (Daniel 3:22 NLT)
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the kind of unbelievable, impossible tale as to only be believed by fools or people who know and love Jesus. It’s a literal occurrence that changed the heart of a heathen king and emblazons itself into our heart and mind. What can we learn from this amazing incident in these faithful men’s lives?
First, when God promised never to leave us, He meant that quite literally. In Daniel 3:24-25 the Bible says: “But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisors, ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?’ ‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,’ they replied. ‘I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
When God is for us and with us, enabling us to be obedient and submissive to His authority in the face of severe, life-threatening consequences, we can trust Him to be with us and protect us. And I can almost hear the skeptics saying: “Yeh, but what about all of those in Hebrews 11, and even the Apostles who were closest to Jesus? Where was Jesus when they faced death?”
Perhaps a better question would be: “Where are they now?” They’re with the same Jesus who walked with them through their brutal murders. And He’s the same Jesus who walks with us every step of our journey.
God obviously had other plans for the three Hebrew men, not the least of which was their influence on the pagan King’s life. Listen to Nebuchadnezzar’s words: “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel to rescue His servants who trust in Him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”
He promoted the three Hebrew men and ultimately gave his life to the God above all gods. In Daniel 4:37 he said: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All His acts are just and true, and He is able to humble the proud.”
Three takeaways for me from this story. First, as hot as the “fire” of our trials become, we are never alone. Jesus is always walking with us, even unto death. We may think dying for Christ is for “heroes” of the faith, but the day is fast approaching when each of us will need to decide just how much our faith in Jesus is worth to us.
And secondly, our faithfulness in walking humbly in and through the “fires” of our lives can result in untold numbers of people coming to know the Lord, often beginning with those who are most defiant when it comes to believing in and following Him.
Thirdly, we never know who is watching our lives, so walking in and through the “fires” of life triumphantly and without grumbling and complaining, not only blesses others and helps them see Jesus more clearly, but it also helps us to grow closer to the Lord. We gain insight and understanding of spiritual truths in the midst of pain and suffering that we can learn in no other way.
Do you have any doubt that the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego grew monumentally after the experience in the furnace? Can you not “see” with your eye of faith how God wants to stretch, grow and refine you and me in and through the trials and tribulations of life?
That’s why James was able to write in James 1:2: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “Refined By Fire”
1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.