Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walk Through the Fire

 

“…because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” – Daniel 3:29

It wasn’t good enough to just throw Hananiah, Mishael, and Daniel (a.k.a. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) into a fiery furnace.  King Nebuchadnezzar had them heat it 7 times as hot! And it wasn’t good enough for them to go in wearing their usual clothing.  He had them strap on some “kindling” clothing – coats, trousers, turbans, and even other garments.  He was going to fry him up three disobedient members of his kingdom.  They wouldn’t bow to his golden idols, but instead worshipped an invisible God.  Justice ( and wrath) had to be served! 

He had strong men of his army bind them in all their clothing and ropes and throw them into this flaming hot furnace.  While doing so, these strong men were overcome by the heat, and died.

But little did Nebuchadnezzar know they were not members of his kingdom, but members of the Kingdom of God. In legal issues, there is a matter of jurisdiction.  It’s the right to power and authority to administer justice, punishment, and resolve controversies.  The Bible calls Jesus our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), or lawyer, meaning He steps forward to represent us in Heaven.  That was visualized in the story of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar, looking into the fire says “I see FOUR MEN loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” No one put Jesus in the fire. He wanted to be there.

The point is this.  Jesus could have just killed Nebuchadnezzar, and the fire would have never been part of the story of Daniel.  He would have ended his life as a non-believing evil king.  But that wasn’t what Jesus had in mind. 

Sometimes we’re asked to walk through the fire for others to be able to see Jesus walk through it with us.  That was the case for Daniel.  King Nebuchadnezzar finally believed.  When the whole episode started Nebuchadnezzar was spouting his self-pride in saying, “who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Daniel 3:15).  But when he saw the power and faithfulness of God, he said “because there is no other God who can deliver us like this.” (Daniel 3:29).  Sometimes people just need the evidence of what our God is capable of doing to know that He is more capable than anything else they can invest their trust in.

And it didn’t end with Nebuchadnezzar.  He vowed that all idols in his kingdom should be removed, and that everyone should worship the God of Daniel.  An entire Kingdom was converted from idol worship to God worship through the faith of three men.

I’m sure Daniel, Hananiah, and Mishael weren’t looking forward to being in the fire.  But their faith remained so strong that they had agreed that even if God didn’t show up to rescue them, this was His will for their lives, and they would not worship anyone else.  Their faith brought glory to God.

In times of fiery trials, we have to look back to our faith makers – the things He has done to prove Himself.  The enemy is defeated when we recognize the strength of God, and His faithfulness.  Where there is faith, fear dies.  Walk through the fire. 
   


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