Today we will look at the suffering of three men, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, three young Hebrew men taken captive to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. They are better known by their Babylonian names, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednigo. Early in their captivity King Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90’ high image made of gold (Dan. 3:1) and commanded ALL the people in the land to bow down and worship it. If they did not, the sentence was immediate death (v.6) in a burning, fiery furnace. These three men refused to obey. The king was furious (v.14&15) but gives them an opportunity to save themselves by bowing to and worshipping the image. He further asserts his human authority by insulting the ability of their God to rescue them from imminent death. The three answered the king in a most remarkable way; “O Nebuchadnezzar,…IF it be so, OUR God whom WE serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of THINE hand, o king, BUT IF NOT, (maybe He will or maybe He won’t!) Be it known unto thee, o king, that WE WILL NOT serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image…” (v.16-18). The furnace was heated more than usual, so hot in fact, that it consumed the men who threw them in. Though they had no guarantee of deliverance, God not only delivered them without even the smell of fire on their clothes, but the Lord Jesus Christ was with them in the midst of the furnace. They put their confidence in the true and living God. How about you?
Today, perhaps you find yourself in a fiery furnace of suffering that God is using more for those around you than for yourself. It may be that God has chosen you so that He can reveal Himself and His divine purposes to others. If that is your case, remember James’ admonition to “count it all joy…” Trust God’s love for you and the role He has designed for you in His kingdom. Click here to comment (anonymously if you want) about how God used you during tough times.
Dear Father, may I have that wonderfully unique and intimate relationship with You as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did. For it caused them to faithfully serve and follow You, through the uncertainty of death, with no guarantee that You would deliver them. What is even more wonderful, Father, is their love for You…to boldly face the king with truth that this world neither understands or desires. Father, increase my faith that I may be that vessel that is useful to you, and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and all God’s people said, – AMEN!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.
…Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.