In the Furnace

“As sure as God puts His children in the furnace he will be in the furnace with them”  Charles Spurgeon

Daniel Ch.3 talks about Babylon and the Israelites that were captive there, and how Nebuchadnezzar, the King, made an image of gold for everyone to bow down to it.  If someone did not follow the law, they would be thrown into the fiery furnace.  Three Jews that were put into offices of the province; Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, did not bow down when everyone else did.  They were brought to the king and asked why they didn’t bow down… 16″ O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter (bowing down). 17 If this be so, (thrown in) our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

What great faith those three must have had, knowing what the king could do to them, but knowing even more the power of God and what He could do for them at any point in their life.  I am sure there was a slight thought of what might happen and the hardship of the trial that would come, but there was such a bigger sense of God and the awe of His majesty to lead them in defiance of a king that worshiped idols.  If you continue to read the chapter, it states the fury of the king and how he had his soldiers tie the three up with strong rope and heat the furnace 7 times higher than it was ever heated before.  Even some of the guards died throwing the three Jews into the furnace, that’s how hot it had become.   There might be a  thought of what a terrible, painful death for the three Jews, but that is not the case… 24″ Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ 25He answered and said, ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” It says that the men came out of the fire unscathed and the king fell to the ground worshiping God most high, changing every kind of decree for the people that he reigned over.

So how does any of this pertain to us as Christians?  Yeah its a nice story, but we are probably not going to be thrown into a furnace to die sometime soon.  Trials and tribulations come our way each and everyday, most of the time it feels like we are being thrown into the fire because of the hardships that goes along with the different situations in our lives.  I am sure for all of us, that we at times feel like God is no where in sight during those hard times and that He is even doing it just punish us for the things that we have done against Him.  I know I fall into that thinking at times, but would disagree with that in truth, and the Bible does so as well.

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:12-13 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Let these few verses encourage you to cling to God during hard times, knowing that He is always there and wanting to help in a way that will increase your faith and build your holiness, as well as  glorifying Him.  Blessed be all things from God!

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