Do you find yourself in a dead end place where rescue is your only option? Is the fire growing hotter with no exit door in sight?
Nobody likes these fiery trials in life. No one wakes up seeking dead end situations with no way out. No one desires this, but let me assure you God dwells in this!
God abides in the place of the impossible. God inhabits the too far gone. God resides in the hopeless, dead end destination you’ve tried desperately to avoid. But here, you will find God. And you will find his power on full display like never before.
There’s a story in my bible titled “Four Men in a Furnace”. But reading the story, it really seems it’s about 3 men, not 4. The fourth doesn’t appear until the worst unfolds. Let’s read it together in Daniel 3.
King Nebuchadnezzar built a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet thick. A herald then proclaimed in a loud voice: “Attention, everyone! When you hear the band strike up, fall to your knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Anyone who does not kneel and worship shall be thrown immediately into a roaring furnace.”
The band started to play … (but there were three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to worship the gold statue.)
Furious, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the three men to be brought in. The King asked, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t respect my gods and refuse to worship the gold statue that I have set up? I’m giving you a second chance—but from now on, when the big band strikes up you must go to your knees and worship the statue I have made. If you don’t worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the King, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace fired up seven times hotter than usual. He ordered some strong men from the army to tie them up and throw them into the roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, were pitched into the roaring fire. Flames from the furnace killed the men who carried them to it, while the fire raged around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Suddenly King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?” (You see, he thought this was a story about 3 men too.)
“But look!” he said. “I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!”
Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.
All the important people gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them!
We read and think this is a story about 3, but it’s not. It was a story of 4 men in the furnace. The fourth just didn’t appear until the fire.
You live your life and think this is a story about you, but it’s not. This is the story of you and God TOGETHER. Maybe you just aren’t aware of his presence until you find yourself in that impossible place where God abides. And maybe you haven’t been brought here to be ruined, but to be rescued. And, Sis, if the fire is only growing bigger and hotter, then that means God’s rescue is going to be that much more impressive!
God could have saved these 3 men from the furnace. He could have changed the heart of the King. He could have shut the fire down. He could have sealed the doors. He could have strengthened the 3 of them to overpower everyone else and break free. But he didn’t. He let the fires rage. In fact, he let the fire grow 7 times hotter than normal.
Right now, do you feel the heat from this fire? Does it feel 7 times hotter than normal? Have all previous attempts to stop this from happening seem to have failed, so now here you are, facing the very thing you want to avoid more than anything? What if this isn’t to ruin you … what if this isn’t the end … but this is your opportunity to see the One who has always been with you.
The fourth man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedengo was God. God was going through this with them. God was protecting them, shielding them, guarding them. But they were still IN THE FURNACE. They were still going through the fires. They just weren’t going through them alone, and they would come out of it better.
Honey, you’re going to go through this. And the truth is, it’s going to suck. But know this, God has the power to rescue you. And when his power has done it’s greatest work in you, you will be rescued. And when God rescues you, all that stuff that was holding you back before gets burned off in the fire.
When the King sees 4 men in the furnace, walking around unharmed by the flames, he knows there’s something totally different about their God than his golden statue. Seeing this, the King no longer persecutes them, he honors them! Oh yeah, the fire melted away everything that was against them. They walked out of that furnace better!
The very end of the story says in verse 30: “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Before the furnace, he was against them. After the furnace, he promoted them. It was what happened in the furnace that made all the difference. It was how they went through it, and who went through it with them, that changed the trajectory of their lives.
Sis, how you go through this, and who you go through it with, will change the trajectory of your life. This is the kind of faith required for this journey … the kind of faith that says “I know my God can do this, but even if he chooses not to, I will trust in him.” What can God do with a faith like that? Oh, he can turn the hearts of leaders and an entire nation. He can not only carry you through it, but he can promote you through it.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego wouldn’t have chosen this means of promotion. They would have rather avoided the furnace all together. But their promotion only came through the furnace. And my guess is, our promotion will often be the same. . . It will come through the furnace.
But remember, this isn’t a story of YOU going through this trial. This isn’t a story of YOU battling your insanely hard, uphill battles. This isn’t a story of YOU going through the impossible struggles of real life, just trying to make it through. No, this is a story of TWO. A story of YOU AND GOD. A story of God being in this with you, shielding you, protecting you, guarding you, and ultimately rescuing you for your promotion.
It wasn’t a story of 3 men in a furnace, there were 4. And your story is a story of 2 going through this. It’s never just you. It’s never completely over. There’s so much more to this than you can see. There’s a deeper meaning to this fire than you are aware of right now. I know you just want to run away from it, but, Sis, God may just be taking you through it so you can come out promoted.
King Nebakenezer threatened the 3 and asked “who is this God who can rescue you from my power?” And my guess is, if you’re facing a fiery furnace in your life, this question is being presented to you. Who is this God who can rescue you from this. Do you know Him? Do you trust Him?
His power is real. His power is here. And his power can get you through this and bring you out of it better! Verse 26 says “they walked out of the fire.” Remember that. That’s who your God is!
You may not get to avoid this fire, but God has the power to help you walk right out of it! However, walking out of it implies you must first be in it. If this is where you find yourself, look around. God is here with you!
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