ďThere are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
Whether we like it or not as believers in Jesus there will be persecution, trying and testing. The above account of three Hebrews who dared to stand for their belief in God is testament and encouragement for all of us who must endure the trials of life. These three men refused to conform to the ways of those who did not serve God by refusing to deny the one true God by bowing down in honor of Nebuchadnezzar.
Before the king Nebuchadnezzar built the idol, he had previously acknowledged Danielís God and His greatness because of Daniels ability to interpret the kingís dream. And just like the enemy, he knows who God is but wants men to bow to him instead. Because of the decision to worship the Lord when everyone else bowed in fear, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were put through the fire.
The furnace represents proving and testing in our lives and often comes because we choose to do whatís right in the sight of the Lord. But many of us forget who are when tested. We retreat in fear thinking we are going to loose something more valuable than the relationship we have with the Father. We need to understand that the same faith which got us placed in the furnace is the same faith that will get us out. Faith that is immovable and can stand the heat is what separates those who are able to go through and come out without any scars from those who donít make it or bear the battle wounds. The only evidence of those who trust the Lord for their deliverance is the victory we receive and the glory God deserves.
There are folks who are consumed when they get close to the fire let alone actually going through. Those who donít know the Lord to be a deliverer will succumb to the pressure and heat of the furnace but those who remain steadfast in the Word, and cleave to the Lord, trusting Him to bring us out ,are the ones who will confound them that meant to harm us.
We have to realize even when things seem like too much to bear, the Lord is with us. In the midst of the fire He makes his presence known to us and to all who look on hoping we get consumed. Some may not be able to figure out what it is (or rather Who) we have in the midst of the furnace, keeping us from being consumed. They may not understand how the test that proved too much for others, had no effect on Godís people who trust in Him. They may look at you hoping to find proof of what youíve had to endure by way of resentment, pain, grudge, or anything that would cause them to say, ďI told you so.Ē But no weapon formed against you shall prosper. You have been given peace and joy that no man can give.
You may be in the furnace right now. You may have chosen stand for righteousness and holiness and because of this someone sought to make life difficult. The enemy may think he has the upper hand right know but the choice to serve the Lord and the stand for his truth made you a candidate for the fire. That belief will also make you a victor over the fire. And when you do come forth, youíll be better, stronger, purified by the fire that was meant to harm you.
"And when you do come forth, youíll be better, stronger, purified by the fire that was meant to harm you" Christy, what a great ending to your devotional. Thank you for pointing this out to us. Thomas, www.dustonthebible.com