God is the fourth man in the fire–He covers us so that we pass through the fires and are not burned.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
♩♩♩♪♫ Into the fiery furnace – they were therefore cast -Shadrach-Meshach and Abednego♫♬
Sometimes as children, the songs and the motions that go with the song help us remember the stories. Today’s story as you might have guessed is about Shadrach,Meshach and Abednego.
These three young men were captured along with Daniel and taken to Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel. The king ordered his chief official to bring some of the brightest, most vigorous young men to help in his palace and kingdom. He wanted young men who were good-looking, intelligent and had the ability to serve in the king’s court.
These young men probably 14-18 were believers in the one true God. Yahweh was His name. Yahweh’s first command was they should have no other gods before Him. Secondly, God had commanded they “should not make any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6 NAS)
Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Daniel and his friends to be educated three years, at the end of that time they were to enter the king’s personal service. They were to be served the choicest of the king’s food and wine. Their names were even changed to Babylonian names. The King’s plan was to cause them to forget their heritage and become Babylonians. In today’s world, we call it brainwashing. It was to condition them to the ways of their new world.
But Daniel purposed in his heart he would not defile himself. The three friends also stood with Daniel. They asked to be tested for ten days by a fast of vegetables and water to drink. At the end of the test their appearance was healthier than those who had eaten the king’s choice food and wine.
Because they purposed in their hearts to follow their God and not defile themselves, God gave them knowledge, intelligence and wisdom in many things. So the four youth are placed in the king’s service.
At least a year goes by, the king has a dream which no one can interpret. Daniel is called to interpret his dream. Daniel request some time before giving the interpretation. Daniel goes to his house and informs his friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of the king’s request. The four of them take the matter to God for an answer to the dream. God gives the interpretation of the dream to Daniel. Daniel gives the dream’s meaning to the King. The king honors Daniel and Daniel request that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be appointed of the province of Babylon.
Now Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are administrators of the province when the King has an gold image made that is ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. He calls everyone to bow down and worship the image when they hear the music. But whoever refuses to bow will be thrown into the fiery furnace. The music plays and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego do not bow down. Nebuchadnezzar finds out and sends for them.
They reply to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be know to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16b-18 NAS
Nebuchadnezzar is filled with rage and gives the order to heat the furnace seven times hotter. The three friends, all dressed in their best uniforms are to be tied up and cast into the blazing fire. The flames are so hot that the men carrying them are killed and the three friends go into the fire.
The king watches near the door of the furnace. He sees that there are now four men in the fire and one of them looks “like the son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25-27 NAS)
The king calls them out of the blazing fire. The fire had no effect on them; no hair was singed. There was not even the smell of smoke on their clothes.
The king then makes a decree that anyone who spoke “against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap.” (Daniel 3:29 NAS)
Then the king prospered the three in the province of Babylon.
What can we learn from this story?
Truth #1. They purposed in their heart to follow God no matter what. The first step to victory over the enemy is to make the commitment wholeheartedly and without wavering to follow God.
Truth #2. There will ALWAYS be a test. Our friends in the story were prepared. They had fasted and prayed as part of their daily life. They were in constant communication with the God of heaven.
Truth #3 Fear not what man can do to you. The four youth submitted to authority of the king up to the point where it crossed the line and conflicted with the commands of God.
Truth #4 God will NEVER forsake you. He will deliver us through the fire. (Isaiah 43:2 NAS) “When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
God’s love and protection covers us through the fires of life.
May we have the faith that sustains us through the fire. Prepare now. Purpose in your heart. Pray to the one who saves.
Matt Maher sings Deliverer. God you are my Deliverer.. The One who carries us. … through the fire…through the flood!!!
Resting in Him – Floating using Jesus as my raft. “When you pass through the waters you will not drown.” Isaiah 43:2 NAS