Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 11, 2010

fiery faith

Can you remember from childhood the great lesson of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? (thanks to all those teachers who taught the story) For not serving the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, or worshipping the image of gold he had erected, they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar got so mad he ordered the furnace seven times hotter than usual. Imagine the life and death faith that these men were tested with leading up to the epic moment of being thrown into the furnace. Was the faith they modeled about the assurance of rescue, or about their undying trust in their God? As we answer that question, it will be obvious that there are parallels to our journey … only in cooler circumstances.

Daniel 3:17-18
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.

Certain death would be their fate if “He does not.”  But “He did” miraculously protect them from the flames. This is no doubt a great story to teach, but we can all be challenged by the way that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego approached their moment of truth with allegiance to our God. No matter what God would choose to do, they would not bow down. Today or tomorrow, all of us will be confronted with an issue of faith. Like our young friends from the Old Testament, we won’t know what the Father will choose to do. Although we probably won’t be facing flames, we will face difficult choices. These three men trusted God (and the flames got seven times hotter). When they couldn’t predict their outcome, they stood firm. And so can we! How will we navigate our epic moment(s)?

In all of our lives there will be epic moments that test us to the core. We can live with obedient faith, even without knowing what the Father will choose. Whether you are a new believer or a long time Christ follower, prepare for the moment. My experience has taught me that all the love, care and encouragement others can give will never take the place of letting God prepare us as we seek Him. Stay close to His Word. In those epic moments, you will be glad you did. Below are some verses I think the fiery furnace trio would have affirmed.  And I trust we will as well, as we remain steadfast in the Word, preparing for our fiery moments.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on to the heights.

Being certain that difficulties will come, should move us to the Truth.  Be obedient!

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