Photo by Bailey Heedick on Unsplash
Often, we hear people give thanks to the Lord for delivering them out of trouble.
They were told they had cancer, they called on the Lord and, by the time they next visit the doctor, the tumour is gone. Praise God!
But what if the tumour got bigger? Would they be able to praise God? Would you be able to praise God if it happened to you?
Sometimes, we demand God’s deliverance, threatening to give up our faith or questioning His goodness. In Daniel 3, we see the faith of three young men who refused to swear allegiance to anyone except God. Even when faced with death threats, they remained steadfast.
In Daniel 3:1-18, King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue to honour himself and decreed that everyone had to bow to his image whenever the music was played. Those who refused to comply would be thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s men were quick to accuse and single out Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago who were brought before the king.
But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago did not defend themselves.
The three men had faith that God was able to save them but they did not presume that He would.
“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” (Daniel 3:17-18, emphasis mine).
The three young men had faith that God was able to save them but they did not presume that He would.
True faith doesn’t always expect or demand that God answers our prayers by delivering us out of trouble or the worst-case scenario. It waits on God and accepts His outcome, no matter the consequences.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago did not compromise their allegiance to God. They worshipped Him alone.
Babylon represents the world that is constantly calling us to give allegiance to it, to live by its demands and ways.
God’s people must be willing to make a stand in the midst of these challenges.
Saved from the flames
When the king heard the words of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago, he was so angry that he ordered the furnace to be heated up seven times hotter. The soldiers who tied and took the young men to the furnace were killed by the flames of the fire even before reaching the furnace. The young men fell into the blazing furnace.
“Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” (Daniel 3:24)
“Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25)
Amazed, the king ordered the three men out of the furnace. But he could not find any evidence of them being in the furnace – no smell of fire, no harm to their bodies, even their hair remained untouched!
The king could only praise God for the miraculous deliverance of these faithful men.
Lord of all
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago experienced the deliverance of God in a most personal way when the Lord delivered them. Sometimes, I wonder what they talked about while walking around that blazing furnace!
Let the Word of God speak and build our faith whenever we find ourselves in the “furnace”.
In our most difficult time, we can take comfort that Jesus Himself is with us; in our sorrow and pain, our trouble and challenges, our trials and sicknesses. He has promised He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
It is possible for us to come out of our furnace – unharmed, with no smell of the fire and our clothes and hair intact. He speaks to us through Scripture. But let the Word of God speak, instruct, guide, comfort, strengthen and build our faith whenever we find ourselves in the “furnace”.
God is sovereign; He is Master of our lives.
We can trust Him to deliver us when we are in trouble, but if He doesn’t, He is still Lord.
He doesn’t answer to us; we answer to Him. He doesn’t need to explain every situation to us. He is not obligated to tell us everything He is doing in our lives or ministry.
He is God; we are not.
Reflection and Discussion
- How would you describe your faith in God? Was there a time when your faith was dependent on how God answered your prayers?
- In this season, what situation do you need to trust God with?
- Take time to pray for someone whom you know is struggling to trust God in a difficult season in their life. Consider how you may be a blessing or encouragement to them today.
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