Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?Daniel 3:14-15
When we refuse to go the way of the world and worship its false gods, there is always persecution and affliction to be had by the saints of God. The greek word for holy and the greek word for saint are the same word, meaning one that is pure or that has been separated by the fire of affliction. The king of this world, satan, always has threats for us if we will not go his way of filthiness and unrighteousness. Sometimes his threats come from friends or family members. Sometimes from doctors or governmental officials. His threats are empty. We must obey God rather than men or rather than satan. God promises great reward for those who refuse to touch the unclean thing. Let’s embrace the testing and trials of life, for Christ has overcome the world. There is nothing to fear in the furnace of affliction. When we are tried we shall come forth as gold, and God will be pleased with our holy character and life.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.Daniel 3:16-18
It takes a bold and courageous stand to withstand the furnace of fire. We must make a choice to be righteous and hold fast to that decision no matter what happens. We won’t stand alone, for the Lord will minister to us in our time of trial. We must speak the words of life, for that is how we overcome this world. It is by our holy testimony of Jesus that we overcome the devil and his schemes and tricks. There is no turning back to our past life of sin. We must embrace the fire, embrace the testing, embrace the affliction. It is for our ultimate salvation in Christ that we endure testing, just as Christ was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. He is our holy example to follow. We can do it, for He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.Daniel 3:24-25
When we obey Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, we will pass through the fire but we shall not be burned. We may be temporarily bound by the enemy but when we enter the fire our bounds will be loosed! Hallelujah! The fire is for our benefit. When we embrace the fire, we embrace Jesus Christ Himself, for He is our holiness and righteousness. He walks with us through the trials of life. He is the fourth man in the fire with us and our brothers and sisters. Jesus has already suffered the fires of affliction for us, but we must go the way of Jesus, picking up our cross daily and following Him. He has chosen us in the fires of affliction. Only the pure in heart will see God and what purifies more than the fire? It burns away anything that is not pleasing to the Lord. We must be refined in order to be suitable for Christ’s presence in heaven.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.Daniel 3:26-30
The fire is nothing to fear. If we will embrace the suffering of the moment, the trial by fire, we will not be harmed. Only by passing through the death may we have the life that is in Christ Jesus. The fire has no power over us and will not harm us. It is for our glory and the pleasing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The world will see us. We are a living testimony to the world, that there is indeed a reward for serving God and walking through His trials and chastising. Some will come out of the world when they see our example. Those that don’t will be judged by our holy lives. They could have had the same benefits, but they would not.
The end result of the fire is not death but LIFE! The 3 Hebrew children were promoted at the end of the trial. That is our fate as well. God will always promote the faithful, but only after they have passed through the fire.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.James 1:2-4
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:1 Peter 1:6-7
The Word of God declares that we should be joyful and rejoicing through the midst of temptations and trials. They may originate with the enemy of our souls, but it is ultimately working together for our good who love God. The only thing that matters is that we be ready to meet Jesus Christ when He appears. Our trials are only for a short time in this life, but these things are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY that shall be revealed in us at the coming of Jesus!
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.Isaiah 43:2
Just like the Hebrew children, the fire will not burn us. It will only burn those things that aren’t eternal. It will only burn away death, leaving us with only life remaining. The fire is our friend, doing the works of Jesus Christ in our hearts and spirits. Call upon the Lord when you are passing through the fires of affliction! He will hear you and answer you. He will give you the presence of His Holy Spirit to aid you when you are tempted. Don’t be afraid, the trial is not sin. Only when your will gives in to the trial do you sin. Christ enables us to always say NO to the temptation and YES to His will for our lives, which is love and perfection in love. All must pass through the fire. If we try to avoid the fire, we will suffer loss. Patiently endure the fires of life and in the end you will come forth a true Christian, ready to rejoice in the presence of God Almighty forever and ever. Amen.