Walking Through the Fire

While preparing to lead a recent study in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, I discovered something new in a story I remember learning as a child.

When I first learned the story, my Sunday School teacher used flannel graph figures to represent the characters of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

How many of you remember flannel graph? I loved those colorful paper figures with scratchy lines of something on the back that miraculously attached to a piece of cardboard wrapped in flannel. Simply amazing!

In my flannel graph days, the furnace of the story in Daniel Chapter 3 that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into for refusing to bow to the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, was like a huge oven with a door that latched on the outside. From that picture, in my mind, the only way the three Hebrew men could leave the fiery furnace they’d been thrown in was to have the door opened from the outside.

Through the years, I’ve come to understand the furnace of the Babylonians may have been like a huge ziggurat with sloping walkways leading into the fire, or like a very large clay oven with an open front. Either way, these descriptions seem to indicate there was a way of exit, if those inside them could indeed exit.

So back to my preparation for leading the lesson…

In Daniel 3:25, King Nebuchadnezzar looks into the furnace, and instead of seeing three dead Hebrews, he notices four men walking around, untied.

The commentary I read in preparation for this lesson mentioned something I’d never thought of which I’d like to share with you, in case, like me, your vision of the furnace was one the men had no way out of on their own.

Which actually was the truth, no matter how the oven was configured.

The commentator asked, why were the men walking around, and not trying to leave the furnace?

The answer?

“Since God rendered the furnace of no consequence, why not stay in the flames and fellowship with the fourth man?”


Why not stay in the flames and fellowship with the Fourth Man?

How many times have we felt like we’ve been tossed in the fiery furnace believing there was no way out? During those times are we ever content to simply walk around our furnace with the Fourth Man, Jesus, knowing God’s got it all under control?

If you’re like me maybe your answer would be, not often enough.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith came first. They believed God could deliver them, whether he would or not. They left their fate in God’s hands. Their praise and devotion came before deliverance.

The presence of the Fourth Man was in response to their faith. Not the other way around.

Because of our faith, God will never leave or forsake us.

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Nebuchadnezzar: Then why do I see four men, completely unbound, walking around in the middle of the fire? They don’t appear to be hurt at all. And the fourth . . . he appears to be like a son of the gods. Daniel 3:25 (Voice)

I wish you well.


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God Will Never Leave Or Forsake Us

Do you have any fair weather friends? You know…the kind who are there when things are going smoothly, but who disappear at the first sign of trouble? I’d guess each of us have had these people in our lives, at one time or the other. Maybe we’ve been the ones who high-tail it when the going gets messy in our friend’s lives.

I’ve had my share of life’s problems, and I’m sure you have, as well. Fortunately, there is one we can depend on to always be there. To stay with us when the going gets tough. It’s Jesus. He’s promised to never leave or forsake us, and that’s something we can hang onto when life threatens to undo us.

In the midst of our pain and suffering, we might feel abandoned, or forgotten, but that’s not the way it really is. God still cares. He’s still sovereign. He’s still involved with working things out. He’s constant. Not wishy-washy like we are. His goodness doesn’t depend our our goodness. Thankfully.

I’ve mentioned before, even though we may not see his hand at work, God doesn’t go MIA on us. He’s right there with us. In good and in bad. He won’t forsake or abandon us. Ever.

Going through some tough stuff? Remember, like a loving father, holding you close, God’s going through it with you. Nothing reaches us that God hasn’t planned or permitted. Remember the things Jesus has already brought you through. He didn’t bring you this far to drop you now.

Through Christ, we are more than conquerors and overcomers.

No one will be able to oppose you as long as you live, for I will be with you just as I was with Moses; I will not abandon you or fail to help you. Joshua 1:5

I wish you well.


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