Originally published Wednesday, 27 December 2017.
I’ve grown very fond of our friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego during this study and I’m a little sad to say this is our last video from this series. They have encouraged us in a boldness of faith to stand firm when the struggle is real, or real hot like in their case. But it’s this very faith that gets them thrown into the blazing furnace. It’s a hard truth to accept but even with unshaken faith there are still struggles we will have to walk through.
However, in today’s study we learn that when God goes through the fire with us miracles happen. We learn that the very fire the enemy meant to destroy us will be the very thing God uses to free, promote and bless us. James 1:2 tells us to:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
I think James knew that as believers in Christ, when we go through the fire with faith in God and Him with us, we come out unbound, unharmed and unshaken; just like our good friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
To conclude our Unshaken series I want to read the final part of this studies text starting at Daniel 3:19:
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 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 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, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. – Daniel 3:19-23 NIV
Ok let’s stop right here. At first Nebuchadnezzar was trying to give them a second change. If you remember when he hears Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have not bowed to the idol he does not immediately throw them into the furnace, he tries to reason with them. But when he realized the bold stance they are taking he changes his mind and now there are no more second chances.
Now it was bad enough Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were snitched on. It was bad enough they were summoned by the king and were threatened with the fiery furnace. But now they are tied up and actually dropped into the furnace. A furnace that is heated seven times hotter than before. I wonder if you’ve experienced that, the increased heat of temptation the more bold you stand for God?
The Bible then makes mention that they still have their clothes on, completely dressed from head to toe. Remember that now because we’re going to come back to it. Now the fire is so hot that the solders escorting them to the furnace die from its flames and our three friends are left to fall into the furnace.
So we have a miracle right here even before we get to the major miracle that God is about to perform in just a few verses. That the soldiers die from the flames but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego do not, that they die yet not our three friends, who are fully dressed. Now follow me here. God could have stopped right here. He had decided to rescue them so He could have prevented them from even falling in the fire but He does not do that. They will experience His protection and deliverance but I want us to pause right here for a moment to really chew on this for a bit. Though God is delivering them, He does not prevent them from falling into the flames. That sometimes God will rescue us from the fire but He will not prevent the fire. He will save us from the fire but we still got to walk through it.
Think about Psalm 23. In verse 4 the Psalmist says “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (NIV)
There are some struggles God will bring us over, there are some He will bring us under, there are some we simply have to talk through. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley”. Even though we sometimes have to go through the flames we are reminded, we are not alone. Even though Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not completely avoid the fiery furnace they were not alone. Read what happens next starting at verse 24, we reads:
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.” 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.” – Daniel 3:24-25 NIV
There is a fourth man in the fire with them. Now some scholars believe this man to be an angel sent from God while others believe that this man is what’s called a theophany, which is a “manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses”. I lean to agree with that. That God Himself was actually in the fire with them. Either way God sent help, he ensured our friends were not alone in this fire and neither are you in whatever fire you are facing today.
Now when King Nebuchadnezzar sees Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he makes note that they are unbound and unharmed. King Nebuchadnezzar sent them to the fire to hurt them, to stop them from serving their God because they would not serve his. But even in the fire God can set you free, that just because you are struggling does not mean you have to be tied down by your struggle, you don’t have to be defeated by it. That although the struggle you are facing meant to enslave you to depression, and anger and bitterness Jesus came in the fire with you and set you free even with flames circling all around you. The enemy is trying to tie our hand behind our back, he trying to say if you won’t serve these false idols then you can’t serve anything, but he doesn’t understand that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. No flame, no fire, no struggle can stop you when God is in the fire with you and oh Beloved He is. Let’s keep reading. Verse 26 says:
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!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. – Daniel 3:26-27 NIV
No smell of fire on them? Not only were they not singed, not only were they unharmed, but there was not even the evidence of the smell of smoke on them. And as many of you know, smoke has a powerful way from seeping into our clothes and hair and the smell can follow us for days y’all, days. I burnt some meatballs in the oven last year and the entire house smelled like smoke long after the fire was gone. But you mean to tell me our boys Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are surrounded by fire, they are in the oven, they are the meatballs and come and out we cannot even smell smoke on them.
Let me tell you something Beloved. That’s what happens when God walks through the fire with you. You’ll go through a situation and God will deliver you and people will never be able to imagine that you went through such an ordeal because God allowed you to come out unsinged, unharmed, still joyful and peaceful an in your right mind.
While I was in college I worked closely with an older woman on many different ministry related projects. At a particular ministry event she was selected to give her testimony. Now you have to understand that this woman was one of the sweetest, most kind and gentle people I have ever met. She is so soft spoken and her love for Jesus just radiates from her life. She’s one of those people you just assume were saved all their life. Like, I cannot imagine her doing anything wrong. But when she gave her testimony tho. She had done a little bit of everything. My jaw was on the ground as she was telling her story because I never in my wildest dreams could imagine her even cursing because now her life was completely different, completely new, completely unsinged, unbound and unshaken by her past. She went through the fire and not even the smell of smoke was on her.
Again, that’s what happens when God is with you in the fire. Now look I know no one wants to go through the fire. But sometimes we will, and I would much rather go through the fire with Jesus than all by myself. Because when Jesus walks with us the only thing we lose in the fire are the chains that tried to hold us down.
Alright, let’s wrap this up. Verse 28 reads:
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. – Daniel 3:28-30 NIV
The very fire the enemy uses to try to kill us will be the very thing God will use to free us. The very thing he uses to hurt us will be the very thing God uses to promote us. Do not despise the fire Beloved. Just hold on to your God and know you might stumble but you won’t fall, you might struggle but He’ll keep you from sin, you might get knocked down but you won’t get knocked out, you might experience sorrow but He’ll keep you from despair. And once you’ve decided to serve God, to allow Him to be your defender, to trust in His ability and worship Him and not the outcome you will come out of any blazing furnace just as our friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; unbound, unharmed and unshaken.
This series might be over but this conversation is not Beloved. Comment and let me know, has God ever delivered you from a struggle and you came out better than when you first went in? Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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