Comfort in Affliction – Part II
“16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[i] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 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, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 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.”
25 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.”
26 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!” Daniel 3:16-26 NIV
Last time we began looking at having a Faith under Fire. We discovered God’s often unwanted promise of persecution. Today we see His promise of protection.
1 – God promises Persecution
2 – God promises Protection
3 – God promises Promotion
Thankfully the story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego does NOT end with persecution. Their story also teaches us about God’s promise of protection.
If you thought you had fiery problems in life, think about the challenges of Shadrach, Mechach, and Abed-nego. They faced a literal fire! They were godly young men taken captive from their home in Jerusalem into Babylon where they were being trained to be in service to the King of Babylon. Now they were facing the reality of being killed in a fiery furnace or recanting on their faith in God. During their intense persecution, we learn some important lessons we can apply in life about the God who will never leave us nor forsake us when we go through fiery trials.
Sometimes we have the tendency to think we face persecution because we are doing something wrong and are being punished by an angry God, but that is not the case. Satan the accuser of the saints would love us to buy into the deception that we endure hard times because God is angry with us.
I wouldn’t punish my kids for doing what is right and for doing well, though I might challenge and exhort them to do better! I am not a better father than God. In this devotion we learn about God’s promise of protection.
1 – Give less attention to the problem, and greater attention to the Protector.
The three young Hebrew boys knew that the God they served would deliver them. Here’s the key. They didn’t set their eyes on the fiery furnace before them, but on the God who was sovereign over them. How often in life are we able to clearly and explicitly describe the fires we are facing, yet we remain silent about the God whom we serve. How often do we give greater attention to our problems than to our Provider?
2 – God goes through the fire with you.
The three boys were confident that God would save them because they were choosing to honor Him. God often comes to the rescue of those who honor Him, but that doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes God chooses to bring glory to His name through the death and pain of His saints rather than their rescue.
God may not keep us out of the furnace, but we can rest assured that He will go through it with us. It is very interesting that when the King Nebuchadnezzar looked in the fire, he expected to see the three boys burning to death, but instead, he saw 4 men – and one looked like a God. Jesus Christ was walking with them in the midst of the fire.
Jesus protected them in the furnace. He could have snapped His fingers and transported them to a safer land. He could have struck their persecutors with blindness and stopped the whole thing. He could have put out the fire altogether! He didn’t. He went into the furnace with them and protected them.
3 – God used the fire to burn off the things that bind us.
Here’s another key to recognize. When the boys went in to the fire, the text is clear they were bound hand and foot. When they came out of the fire, the three Hebrew boys were no longer bound. They were not burned, but the rope that bound them, was burned off.
When we are in bondage, we don’t like our bonds to be burned off. We’d like them to fall off when we attend a conference or read a book. It would be great if we pray and things just get better. The truth is God often uses the heat of the furnace to burn things out of our lives. Sometimes God breaks us free from things that bind us while we are in the heat of the fires of life.
God promises persecution of His people. He promises to be our protector. In the next devotion, we will explore God as our promoter.
Holy Spirit give me the friends and spirits of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nego… Lord I pray for greater courage to trust You fully as the One who protects me. I want to have the kind of faith the three young Hebrew boys had that trusts You to deliver me so much that I would not compromise even if You don’t deliver me. In the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.