The story of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace. Daniel 3:8-30 (NIV)
Background of the Story
In chapter three of the Book of Daniel, the Bible introduces us to three young men who are friends of Daniel: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These brave young men hold on to their faith in God, even when threatened by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king required all to worship the golden image he created. The fiery furnace awaited those who disobeyed, and the three friends fell into this category. Their story serves as an inspiration for those who question their faith or who face hardship for their beliefs.
The Fiery Furnace
Many of us learned of their story in Sunday School as kids. It amazed us and encouraged us to seek a faith as strong as Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. But, as we grew up, we no longer had to fear the fiery furnace, that was so Old Testament. We had lives to live, families to raise and work to do to support our life styles became our goals instead.
Modern Day Fiery Furnaces
A little background here, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner). And after our girls’ softball team won the third national championship, ESPN did an interview with three of the team members. The girls each credited their success to their faith. Their testimonies brought tears to my eyes. Later, our pastor showed the video and remarked about how these girls stood in the modern-day fiery furnace and held onto their faith. So, maybe this Bible story still has relevance for us today.
Maybe we don’t stand in a true fiery furnace, but all around us we are told to bow down and worship idols made by man. Those idols include things like wealth, comfort, careers, and fame. And when we don’t seek those, the world rejects us or shuns us for being different. Jesus prepared us for this in Romans 12:12 (NIV); “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We must stand strong in our faith even as the world criticizes us or mocks us.
Maybe, instead of idols pulling us away from faith, we are enduring hardships that seem to never end. God came and stood in the fiery furnace with the three men so that all could see there was a fourth person present. The scene showed God’s miraculous intervention in this situation. God does not always promise to intervene miraculously during a crisis. The lesson here goes beyond the miracle to show how these men trusted God with no guarantee of deliverance. They had no assurance they would survive the flames, but they stood firm anyway. We will face hardships and our assurance comes from God standing with us during those trials and not in how he resolves our problems.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
Hope in the Fiery Furnace
They might not threaten us with a fiery death today, but many of us still face tests of our faith. As we face tough times, let us look at this old familiar story for inspiration. Remember that it is possible to stand firm in our faith even when we don’t see God rescuing us in the way we envisioned it.
Prayer in the Fiery Furnace
Dear God, I come to you today seeking strength. I am feeling weak and overwhelmed, and I need your help to get through this difficult time. Please give me the strength to face any challenges that come my way. Help me be brave and courageous, and to trust in your goodness and love. Help me be strong in body, mind, and spirit. May I have the endurance to keep going, even when things are tough. Please bless me with your strength and peace. May I be filled with your love and light, and may I use your strength to serve you and others with kindness and compassion. Amen. (https://www.holylandprayer.com/prayer_for/prayers-for-strength)