Enduring the Flame

Bible Reading: Daniel 3 - Listen

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar's decree to bow down and worship his gold image, even though offenders were to be thrown into a blazing furnace. When they were angrily confronted by the king, they took a bold stand for their faith, proclaiming with confidence, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (3:17-18). After the three men were tied up and thrown into the furnace, the king leaped to his feet and exclaimed, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods" (3:25). After this amazing rescue, the king made a new decree – that everyone should worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

I have faced situations where standing up for the truth and doing what God said to do have resulted in losing a friend, a job, or an opportunity. Though it seems that one should be rewarded for such sacrifice, more often I have been thrown into the fire of increased affliction. I can face the fire with complete confidence in God's ability to rescue as I expectantly hope and pray for deliverance, but I must also yield to his sovereignty when my prayers for relief are answered by his silence. I must trust that God knows best and acknowledge that his ways are higher than my ways.

So I say, "but even if he does not" (3:18) deliver me from the blazing furnace, I will keep doing what is right; I will trust in my God; I will serve him with joy; I will lift my heart in worship and sing praises to my Creator. What else can I do? Even though I am weary in waiting for his deliverance, if I stop trusting God, then I would surely faint and sink into despair. My life would be meaningless and without hope. Satan would gloat over his victory, and my loss of faith would discourage the faith of others. No!

I will trust and obey. I will stand in the midst of the flame with integrity and faith, and Jesus will stand with me, just as he stood with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As I rejoice in his presence and protection, may I be unbound by the ropes that would entrap me and unharmed by the flame that would consume me. May others witness my faith as I endure the fire and, like King Neb, "leap to their feet in amazement" (3:24) as they see the presence and influence of God in my life. May they, too, witness God's protection and deliverance and finally declare that "no other god can save in this way" (3:29).