Saturday, January 19, 2013

Not burned by Fire

I have been thinking about this passage of scripture for a few months now.  God spoke to me about it and I wanted to share the truth that encouraged me.

There is a story in Daniel 3 about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  It is about a king who wanted people to worship him.  So he had a statue of himself constructed out of gold and commanded that at the sound of the music everyone was to bow down and worship the golden image.  The 3 young men, who were God's people refused to bow to any other "god" (as this King was making himself out to be) other than the one true God, the Lord.  The music sounded, they did not bow.  This made the king VERY angry, so he had them questioned and then thrown into the blazing furnace.  Let's pick up the story in Daniel 3:19

Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.   But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.  “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”  Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”  So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.  Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.  Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”  Daniel 3:19-29

A few things jumped out at me as I read this story.  First, the enemy doesn't like us,  he is not real happy when we decide to trust God regardless the outcome, and he can't wait to throw us into the "fire".  The truth is there are trials in our lives, things happen that we don't plan for, but what the devil means for bad, God will use for good.  Romans 8:28 "And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Next, the enemy king thought he had them good, they were bound as they went into the furnace, with hands tied there wasn't much they could do.  But, he didn't count on one thing, that they were not alone in this fire, who showed up, but Jesus!!  (At least that is my opinion of who it was!)  In our trials one thing we have to cling to and believe is that we are not alone, that God has a plan and will help us as we lean on His strength and not our own.  

And the last thing that stuck out to me, was that the fire burned off the ropes that were tied to their wrists.  The fire that was meant to destroy them, actually burned off what held them bound!  Trials are not fun, but if you remember God is going to use it for your good, trust that He is there with you, and let it train you, I believe you will actually be set free from things you have possibly been held down by for a long time.  I  know it is hard when you are in the midst of pain to stop asking "why is this happening to me?" and change the question to "what do you want me to learn through this?"  But, if we can just change our perspective, truly believing ALL THINGS will work for our good, we will allow these trials to make us stronger, to set us free and possibly lead others around us to see who the one true God is.  

Notice the response of the King after Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walk out of the fire unharmed, not even smelling of smoke, total amazement, and even declared praise to God, saying there is no one that can save like him.  Now, don't we want to inspire that kind of response from people around us who see us in the difficulties of life?  So remember when you face trials of many kinds, don't be afraid, God is with you, the fire will not harm you, Jesus is your savior and He alone can use the trials to bring about good in your life.

"But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;" Isaiah 43:1-3a