Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, August 24, 2015
“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 3:25)
At about the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah’s reign, the king of Babylon was permitted by God to besiege Jerusalem. King Nebuchadnezzar carried away God’s people as captives. It was because of their collective disobedience that God allowed their captivity (Daniel 9:6). God chastens us when we need it, in order to purify us as fine gold. Though not all were faithless, the faithful shared in the struggles that would come to Jerusalem. The city of peace was now a besieged city. The city where God’s house was erected for all to see was also taken captive in the same manner.
As the story continues, there came a point when there was a showdown between the true God of heaven and the false god of Babylon. Many tests had been brought upon the three worthies and they passed with flying colors. God’s health plan was put on display through these young men, and His success was revealed for all to see. Now a test of ultimate faithfulness would be required of them. In a prideful attempt to show God that he was boss, Nebuchadnezzar erected a solid gold statue in the plain of Dura. In the king’s mind gold represented the longevity of his worldwide reign. Though God had revealed through a dream that he would be usurped by a power weaker than himself, he wanted to prove God wrong.
The statue was magnificent. The gold glistened in the sun as a fine jewel. Nebuchadnezzar instructed all to bow and worship his statue when the music began. Most people, including the professed people of God obeyed his command. The three Hebrew boys maintained their fidelity to God and chose to stand erect despite the consequences. The king was outraged and when subtle persuasion failed to impress the young men, he resorted to force. He thought that penalizing them would not only teach them a lesson, but also strike fear in the hearts of all who witnessed what would soon take place. “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 3:15).
When the heat of affliction is intensified by seven times, God is still able to appear and bring glory to His own name in our lives.
As he promised, the king had the heat intensified in the already deadly furnace, so much so that his own servants died while throwing the three Hebrew worthies into the furnace. After the young men were thrown in, in an amazing miracle, Jesus intervened rendering the fire incombustible. Jesus Himself joined the men in the furnace. The king could hardly believe his eyes. He saw Jesus and the three walking loose in the furnace as though there was no flame at all. Immediately He recognized the Son of God.
Through trust in God’s providence, the three Hebrew boys went through a fiery trial and emerged as pure as fine gold. When we are faced with intense struggles, let us learn from these three that God is always in the midst. The fires will not consume His servants. When the heat of affliction is intensified by seven times, God is still able to appear and bring glory to His own name in our lives.
Most of us will not ever be brought before a monarch and be given a test of our commitment to God; however, we all are tested daily in the mundane things of life. Whom will we serve? Will it be the boss who wants us to fudge the numbers on a report to please stockholders? Will we choose to bow to the idol of doubt that God is able to make nine tenths more effective than the whole of our increase when it’s time to return an honest tithe? Will we worship lust when some third party seeks intrusion into our marriage? Will we be honest when tax season rolls around, or adjust the facts to reduce our tax liability? The fact is, we all have tests. We may either choose to submit ourselves to God when they arise, or allow external pressure to crush our internal resolve to follow the God who made us.
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please teach us that you are able to keep us through any trial or temptation, no matter what. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen