This week on the blog, I’ve been focused on the incredible account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace (check out part 1 and part 2 in my “Faith Through the Fire” series). Today, three simple lessons that remind us, yet again, that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). Here’s some hope for your Friday.
1. As a child of God, wherever you are, He is there. God was with these three Jews even when they had been plucked from their home and taken to the foreign land of Babylon. He was there when they were placed in Nebuchadnezzar’s training program and as they were forced to serve the king. God was there when Nebuchadnezzar made the great golden image, and He was there when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to worship it.
God is with you, too. Mankind is reminded of His presence in the psalms (Psa. 139:7-12). We read how He was there beside all of the faithful men and women in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, His only begotten Son comes into the world and is called “Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Mat. 1:23). Jesus promised to be with us “always, even to the end of the age” (Mat. 28:20). Paul said that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38-39). The Psalmist believed that nothing could separate him from God’s deliverance (Psa. 68:20).
Wherever you find yourself today, remember that God is there. He’s at work, and He knows the temptations you face there. He’s at home, watching your family. He’s at school, and He knows your struggles, hurts, and pains. Are you on that spiritual mountaintop? He’s there, too. Are you in that spiritual valley – or, maybe even a fiery furnace of sorts (1 Pet. 1:7)? Yep, He’s there, too.
2. God’s protection is complete and perfect. Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t deny the miracle that God brought about that day. Three men were thrown into the furnace, but four men were seen inside moments later. When the three men emerged from the furnace, it was as though they hadn’t even been around a fire (Dan. 3:27)!
God will protect you, too. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1). The three Jewish men put their entire trust in God. They knew He was able to deliver them and they trusted His Will to do what was best (whether God chose to deliver them or not, Dan. 3:18). Do I trust Him that much? Do I have the faith to cast “all [my] care upon Him, for He cares for [me]” (1 Pet. 5:7)? If I don’t, it isn’t because God hasn’t told me of His love and concern for me. Give it to God. Let go. Let God.
3. The glory of God is more important than our deliverance. Wow. That’s a huge statement. Think about how history describes the death of the apostles. All of them, with the exception of John, died the death of martyrs (John certainly was not exempt from suffering, Rev. 1:9). God’s glory was more important than their lives. They gave themselves for Him. That’s why they suffered as they did (2 Cor. 11:24-33; 12:15).
No matter what, we must resolve to honor God always and in all things. He is worthy, and we are His servants. To be clear, it is not God’s Will that we be a type of “suicide Christian.” It is God’s Will that we live so we can spread the gospel message and shine as lights in the world. But, when sainthood leads to suffering (and it always does, 2 Tim. 3:12), and when suffering leads to a be-faithful-or-die situation, we know what God wants.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).[/box]
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? (2 Cor. 2:15-16).[/box]
Let’s follow Christ’s example in suffering and in death (1 Pet. 2:23) and let’s commit ourselves to do the Father’s Will.