July 8 I Monday
“Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?... Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” —Daniel 3:24-25
Looking at the opening verse, we see that King Nebuchadnezzar realized that his math was not adding up. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue; their consequence was to be thrown into a blazing furnace. It was no ordinary furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar’s anger with the men’s defiance made him order for it to be heated seven times hotter than usual. Even the soldiers, who were taking these three men into the furnace, perished because the flames were so hot.
What surprised King Nebuchadnezzar, as he looked into the furnace, was that there were not three people inside but four. How could this be? He asked one of his advisors to verify how many people were thrown into the fire and he said “three.” King Nebuchadnezzar described, “the fourth looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25).
Overwhelmed by what he witnessed, King Nebuchadnezzar called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the furnace and “saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them” (Daniel 3:27). In awe, King Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the
king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God” (Daniel 3:28).
King Nebuchadnezzar had just seen the God of Israel, who was the fourth person in the furnace, because He is a God who enters into the suffering of His people. Whenever we experience tough times, God knows exactly what that feels like. When we are insulted because of our faith, when others are furious and raging against us and making things seven times hotter, we do not serve a God who is distant from the suffering of His servants, but rather, He enters into their pain to deliver them from the flames.
This is a comforting reminder that when we are suffering, enduring persecution or betrayed, our God is not distant but is with us. Whatever fiery furnace we may be going through presently, may we be reminded that we serve a God who has the power to defend and deliver us, just as He did with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Our responsibility is to remain faithful and obedient to what He has called us to do—and sometimes that could mean standing in a fiery furnace—but we have the assurance that we are not going through it alone.
Prayer: God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, thank You that when I am going through the flames of a fiery furnace, I am not alone because You are right there with me. I praise You that You are my deliverer.