“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up’ ” (Daniel 3:16-18 NLT).
Who/what do you wholeheartedly believe?
I mean belief so strong you would die for it? Walk through fire for it?
I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, He is my Lord and Savior. Because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, I stand in His grace—fully forgiven and fully redeemed. I am filled with the Holy Spirit who is at work in and through me to bring glory to HIS name.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew the punishment for not bowing down to the golden statue King Nebuchadnezzar had constructed. Death by fire.
They also knew WHO they truly worshiped.
Theirs was the God of Abraham and Moses and David. Their God had parted the Red Sea and delivered HIS people from their enemies; HE had given Abraham a son in his late retirement years and made a covenant with him; and HE met David both on the battlefield and in the intimacy of honest prayer. These are the stories passed down through the generations about who their God is.
But these three men didn’t cave under the pressure because they knew the God they served. They weren’t quite sure of what HE wanted to do in this situation, but trusted HIS ways, plan, and ultimate care of their lives.
I’m sure these three could even feel the intensity before they were thrown in (see Daniel 3:22-23).
The intensity increase
Can you feel the intensity? It’s growing.
The apostle Paul, from prison, wrote his mentee Timothy a letter reminding him of his heritage of faith. Paul told him to hold to his faith in Jesus Christ in the face of any intensity.
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice.
“And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
“So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.
“He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
“And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News” (2 Timothy 1:5-10).
Paul reminded Timothy (and he reminds us, too) that this spirit of fear and timidity is not what God has entrusted us with. The same GOD of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is my God and Your God. And with Christ as Savior, the gift He has given is the Holy Spirit.
The fire of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3-4).
The Lord wants us to turn up the heat of the Holy Spirit and stomp out the fear. He desires for His power, love, and self-discipline to be known and in turn bring glory to His name.
It may seem like the fear won’t ever go away. But when you’re in the presence of the Great I AM, the intensity shifts.
When enemies become worshipers
“But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, ‘Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?’
“‘Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,’ they replied.
“‘Look!’ Nebuchadnezzar shouted. ‘I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!’
“Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!’
“So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
“Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
“‘Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!’” (Daniel 3:24-29, NLT).
I bet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego never imagined the king who called for all to bow down and worship a 90-foot-tall golden statue, would turn and praise the One True God.
But that’s who our God is. Worthy of all the praise!
Whatever you’re facing today, remember Who walks through the fire with you and who walked to the Cross for you. Fan HIS flame inside you, and stomp out the flicker of fear in His Name.
Join me in exploring what the Lord says about anxiety-driven fear and also fearing (being in awe of…) HIM. I look forward to sharing my discoveries here. Join me here again next Friday! And better yet, bring a friend!
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