In the Fiery Furnace – Advent Day 17

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up’ “ (Daniel 3:16-18).

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6-7).

Around 600 BC, the king of Babylon raised an imposing golden image of himself on the plain of Dura.  King Nebuchadnezzar instructed all his government officials to worship the statue when the music played.  Three Jewish exiles among the group refused to worship.  Nebuchadnezzar offered them a second chance but they did not need one.  Their mind was made up, they would worship God alone.

Look at their incredible statement of faith at the top of this page.  In essence, they were saying, “We have faith to believe that God can deliver us from the furnace, but even if He does not, we are all in.”  Staring at what appears to be certain death in the furnace of blazing fire, this is quite a claim.  Notice that their faith is not tied to their physical rescue, but to the God who is in control.  With or without physical deliverance, their faith is in the one true God alone.  Their faith is not dependent on an outcome.  It is dependent on a person; the character and person of God Himself.

But God did deliver them from the fire.  When the king peered into the furnace, “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Look!  I see four men loosed and walking about in the middle of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’ ” (Dan 3:25).  I believe the fourth person in the fiery furnace was Jesus Himself coming to their rescue.  And He is coming to your rescue in the fiery trials of life.

His rescue may not be a physical deliverance from your trials.  But His presence and peace are always with us, available to deliver us from the fires of fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, and loss.  “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus was in the fiery furnace, because Jesus was there from the beginning!