The Fire

When I was four years old, we had a horrendous barn fire. A truck had delivered feed to our chicken house for the newly delivered 1,000 chicks. When the driver started the truck back up, my Dad said he heard it backfire. Minutes later my Dad came running through the house yelling for my Grandma to get the kids in the car. He ran into his bedroom and came out putting on his cap. That was all he rescued from the house. My Grandma grabbed me and my two-year old brother.
When we came out of the house, I was hit in the face with intense heat. There was fire everywhere. My Dad had to drive around huge pieces of burning debris as it dropped from the sky. He made his way up the hill across from our house because the driveway was blocked with fire. When he reached the top of the field he had plowed the day before, he stepped hard on the gas and managed to get the car 50 feet or so into the field before we sank into the soil. Then he jumped out of the car leaving me and my brother with Grandma. He ran toward the huge fire ball that was where the chicken house and huge old barn had been.
I sat in the car for the next several hours watching it play out. The roof of our house started to burn. I saw men with buckets climbing on the roof fighting the fire, hitting it with anything they had. Shovels, articles of clothing. They were heroes to me. The courage of those who didn’t back down from that awful heat and tremendous roar of those flames saved our home. Later we heard that the flames were seen up to 30 miles away. To this day, sounds like a large flock of birds flying overhead, send me back to the roar of that fire.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were three men who faced a fire. Daniel 3.  King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They 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.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “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. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Unlike many of the fires that we face, these men had a choice as to whether or not they would go into the fire. We often don’t have a choice. Fiery trials just come our way, seemingly falling from the sky. These men had a choice. They could either just go with the flow, do whatever everyone else was doing and bow down to a false God or they could burn in the fiery furnace. A fire is not something one would normally choose. A trial is not something we choose. But still we face them. The scripture reminds us not to be surprised when they come our way.
In our country and around the world today we face fiery trials as we have watched a virus spread across the world, taking the lives of so many and the political scene gone crazy. The fiery trial of COVID-19, a virus unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime. Political unrest like I have never seen before. For some it has tested their faith. It makes you wonder. Is God trying to get our attention? Why is this happening?
I can imagine that these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were asking themselves the same questions. However, to these men, whether a miracle occurred or not, it didn’t matter. Whatever God did or did not do was up to Him. And they would accept the outcome. They had taken a stand and regardless of the consequences, they would not worship a false god.
That is the ultimate display of courage. To be willing to offer your life for Christ, not knowing whether He will step in or not. So now a king who was already furious and a furnace that was already hot were even hotter because of their response. The king tells them, turn the furnace up seven times hotter than before. Then the king commands some of the strongest men available to carry out the execution. All of this happened immediately. The three men were grabbed and tossed into the fire. Daniel even describes their clothing to us.
The flames were so hot that even the soldiers who tossed them in were consumed on the spot from the heat. Instantly, the king jumped to his feet in amazement because his mind could not compute what his eyes had seen. Men who should be dead were alive and walking around. Men who were bound were now unbound. And now there were four and the fourth looked like a son of the gods to him. Here were three men and now another walking around in the fire. The King declares they must be servants of the Most-High God. The fire had been stoked as hot as the king could make it. But not a single burn was left on their bodies. Their robes were not even scorched and there was not even the smell of fire on them. The only thing missing were the bonds that had been placed on their hands and feet.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2.
An acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. They stood there staring at a fiery pit and they knew they were about to be thrown in. They knew their lives were in grave danger. But they knew a greater truth. No matter what God would choose to do, God is still good. He always has been. He always will be. Faith is trusting in God when everything around us seems to be falling apart. For each of us, we know that either we have just finished a trail or we are right in the middle of one or there is one out there waiting for us. They are a part of life.
When the Japanese invaded China during WW2, a missionary was forced to leave the area. She worked with orphans there and for her it was simply not an option to leave them behind. So, she and over 100 children ran making their way through the mountains of that area attempting to get to the area known as Free China, the area not affected by the war. It was a very difficult trip to navigate with such a large number of children and she was becoming very anxious about whether they would make it to safety or not.
But one little girl in the group, just 13 years old reminded the missionary of the story of Moses and how God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to get them across safely. The missionary cried out in her desperation, “but I’m not Moses.” To which the young girl replied, “of course you aren’t, but God is still God.” Once they made it through safely they were all reminded that no matter how inadequate we may feel for the task that is front of us, God is still God and we can always trust Him.
Trust Him today. Trust Him for tomorrow. Trust Him right now.

Trust and Obey (A Cappella) – Bing video
1 When we walk with the Lord
  In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
  While we do His good will,
  He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
  Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
  But to trust and obey.
2 Not a shadow can rise,
  Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
  Not a doubt or a fear,
  Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
3 Not a burden we bear,
  Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
  Not a grief or a loss,
  Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
4 But we never can prove
  The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
  For the favor He shows,
  And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
5 Then in fellowship sweet
  We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
  What He says we will do;
  Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

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