There is something amazing about reading a Bible story that you have known since childhood with others and picking out those things that may have been overlooked before because the story was so familiar. I ask you to dive into the "fiery furnace" with me and the three Hebrew guys known by their Babylonian-given names.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were thrown into the fire at the command of King Nebuchadnezzar due to their refusal to bow down to his huge image of gold. They saw all of the other Babylonian officials bow at the sound of the music, yet they stood firm. Sure, we know the end of the story. We go into it KNOWING that the Lord will be with them in the fire.
THEY DIDN'T KNOW THAT!!
Their faith was rooted in who their God was, not in what they hoped He would do for them. They were ready to give their lives for Him despite the abundance of peer pressure. I realize that this is a very familiar story, so you may be having to stifle your yawn...but I believe it is necessary to stir our faith with the power of their testimony as often as we can.
What hit my heart so strongly after discussing this in Sunday School yesterday morning was the mind-blowing reminder that the Lord doesn't always come to the rescue. At least not in the way that we expect Him to come.
I was reminded as we sang yesterday morning of a recent "fiery furnace" experience of my own. I had expected Him to come kicking open the doors as my Knight in shining armor. You know, swooping me up in His arms and placing me on the back of His white horse...the whole nine yards. He didn't.
It broke me then. It breaks me now - just in a vastly different way.
Because I wasn't immediately rescued, I learned His timing is different than mine.
Because I wasn't pulled out of the fire, I learned He is fireproof.
Because I was changed after the fact, I learned He is always right.
I dare you to join Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (the Hebrew names of those brave guys) and choose to stay in the fire with the Lord until you are called out of it.
Unharmed. Unbound. Unafraid.
Father, the fire cannot harm me, but it can refine me. Greater are You within me than anything that is in this world. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Daniel 3, Isaiah 43:1-2, 1 John 4:4