Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 24, 2015

into the fire

As a child, you were probably taught the great lesson of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (don’t you miss the youthful excitement of hearing stories like the fiery furnace). For not serving the gods of Nebuchadnezzar and worshiping 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 these men were tested with leading up to the epic moment of being thrown into the furnace. Was their faith about the assurance of rescue or about an undying trust in God? In answering that question, it becomes obvious that there are parallels between the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and our own (albeit, likely in cooler circumstances).

Daniel 3:16-18 (MSG)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

Certain death would be their fate if “God does not,” but “He did” miraculously protect them from the flames.  A great story for sure, but greater yet was the way that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego approached their epic moment of truth with allegiance to God. No matter what man would do, they would not bow down. Today or tomorrow, in my story (and yours), we will be confronted with an issue of faith. Like our friends from the Old Testament, we won’t know what the Father will choose to do. How will we navigate our epic moment(s)?  Obedient faith when facing uncertain moments is the choice we too can make … will we?

We each have our own fiery furnace moments and they test us to the core. We can face the heat with obedient hearts even when uncertainty overwhelms us. Whether a new Christ-follower or a seasoned servant, preparation is important in navigating the inevitable furnaces of life. 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. One of His key methods of preparation happens as we integrate His Word into the core of our lives. Make no mistake, preparing for our furnace battles without growing and knowing His Word will leave us less than confident. I perceive that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were very confident … are you?

As your story continues, and the heat begins to rise against you, let the confidence of our three friends and the words below encourage you. But please do not neglect the essential choice to integrate His Word into your life daily.  It will give you confidence that you could never create on your own.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

            Your story will have fiery furnaces, and your God can protect you!

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