Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 28 - Stuck In A Furnace

Hebrews 11:34, Daniel 3

Here is another favorite story of mine: the fiery furnace. Here were three men that were facing certain death because they would not worship any gods except the one true God, yet they did not falter in their faith. Please read Daniel 3, it is such a powerful story of faith and triumph.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a ninety foot statue and ordered that everyone was to bow down and worship it. Anyone who did not obey the command would be thrown into the fiery furnace. When the command was given, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not bow down. When the king found out about this, he decided to give them a second chance. However, he also placed a challenge before God when he said in verse 15, “…Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Oops! I don’t think it is very wise when a human thinks they are more powerful than God; He is sure to show up and show His power.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a very strong reply in verses 16-18: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They make a great point; we are not guaranteed that God is going to save from every situation. It may not be in His will to save us. As Hebrews 11 points out, there were several servants of God with strong faith that died because of their faith. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were making sure that the king understood that they did not worship God because He promised to deliver them from every bad situation (they were, in fact, in captivity); they worshiped God because He is the One and Only God. Their faith let them know that God could save them, but it also allowed them to be bold knowing that He may choose not to save them. Because they had such a strong faith, they would rather face death on earth than worship another god.

It is easy to have “fair weather faith,” isn’t it? It is so much easier to follow God when things are smooth and going well. What about when things just don’t make sense? It isn’t so easy to be faithful in our worship to God when things are happening to us that are unwarranted. It isn’t easy when we are in a situation where the outcome appears impossible. We can depend on God and know that we are in His hands even when things turn out differently than we like. The point is, we need to trust and worship God no matter what our circumstances are.

Are you struggling with your faith because of circumstances that seem unfair? Let Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s example encourage you to press on in your faith in God!

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