Our Fiery Trials

Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:32 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “My Jesus, My Savior” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Daniel 3 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%203&version=NIV

The Gold Statue

King Neb made a gold statue. He invited all the provincial officials to attend the dedication.

Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 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. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

So, the people did as they were told… well, not everyone did. Some astrologers pointed out the fact that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego paid no attention to the edict. This infuriated the king, so he summoned the three men. He told them that if they did not bow to the statue he had made they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” he said. Little did he know...

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 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. 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.”

Wow! I love it!! This is the kind of courage and fortitude we should all have in the face of such opposition from the enemy. Amen?

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 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 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, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

Our enemy doesn’t like it, either, when we stare him straight in the face and we tell him that we won’t bow to his “gods”, we won’t believe his lies, and we won’t be intimidated by his threats. We will serve our God to the death if we must, and we will not yield! And, when we do that, sometimes the fire gets hotter, but God is able to see us through!! Amen!

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.”

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.”

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, 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.

Amen! Praise the Lord!! The Lord Jesus was with these three men and he saw them through their fiery trial. He will always be with those who are truly his, by God’s grace and through faith in Jesus Christ, and he will see us through all our difficult circumstances, as well. In fact, the Bible says we are destined for them.

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. ~ 1 Thess. 3:2-4 (NIV)

The Bible also says that we are to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds, because when our faith is tested it develops in us perseverance. Perseverance then does its work in us so that we can become mature and complete (whole) – see Jas. 1. We also learn in reading 1 Pet. 1 that the purpose of these trials is to prove our faith as genuine, so that when Jesus Christ comes for us, our faith, having been refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor. Going along with that subject, back in Jas. 1 we read that those who persevere under trial, having stood the test, “will receive the crown of life that the Lord promised to those who love him.”

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. 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.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we stood the test of our faith in the face of great opposition, that our leaders would stand up and take notice, and that it would have a profound effect on their lives? Now King Neb didn’t respond that way initially, but when he saw Jesus Christ among the men and that the men came out of the fire unharmed, he could not refute what he had just witnessed before his eyes. Yet, many leaders do. Yet, King Neb did not go all the way in his declaration of praise of God Almighty. As we read in the next chapter of Daniel, King Neb and his kingdom grew very great, but he failed to acknowledge that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on the earth. Evidently the king thought he had done all of this kingdom building himself, but he did not recognize the hand of God on his life, or that he was only growing in power and strength because God allowed it.

Our Trials

God will allow us to go through fiery trials while we live on the face of this earth. They are for our strengthening, to test our faith as genuine, and to mature us. I can attest to that. We can either grow through them or we can give way to them and fail the test. Satan is a great liar and deceiver. He will try to convince us that our God will not rescue us. Now, while it is true that God will not always take us out of the trials, and we may actually die for our testimony for Jesus Christ, God will not leave those who truly put their faith and trust in him, as these young men modeled for us. He will be with us through our fiery trials and he will see us through to victory if we stand strong in our faith as did these young men.

A time is coming, and we may already be on the threshold of that period of time, in which God will allow a global ruler (the beast) to have control of all nations of the earth. He will set up an “image” of the beast and he will command all people to bow down and worship this image and to take his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. I believe this mark is not just a physical spot on the human body, but that it is symbolic of the influence that someone has accepted over his or her mind and actions. And, the beast is symbolic of this world’s system. So, we must pray and be very discerning about the things, attitudes and philosophies that we accept into our minds and hearts which then affect our actions, so that we are not allowing the world to have its mark on our minds and behaviors.

When this time comes, if it has not already come, those who do NOT accept this “mark” of the beast (global) will be threatened, persecuted and perhaps even put to death. The beast will target followers of Jesus Christ, in particular. So, this calls for much discernment on the part of the saints of God. I believe the government in the U.S.A. is part of this “beast” and they are out to deceive the American people, so we can’t put our trust in them or believe what they tell us. Yet, don’t take my word for it. Pray. Ask God. Do the research. Don’t believe everything you see in the news because things can be manufactured, altered and made to look one way when they are really not that way at all. Stand strong in your faith. Put your faith only in God/Jesus, and listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

My Jesus, My Savior / Michael W. Smith

My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord there is no one like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You…

Full Lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4

You have certainly made quite the post. I stopped reading when you stopped talking about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego though, but I'm sure you continued to make some valid points. We all must face trials, I hope that someone will allow God to work through that story to make themself a stronger Christian. We all need to make a stand for Christ, and what I would like to encourage everyone to do is try to help someone tomorrow, whether it be helping someone who has fallen to giving out critical life advice if need be, regardless of big of small, just try to help someone as a Christ has helps us. I personally have found the toughest part of doing this is identifying those who need help, but if you are persistant and continue to ask God for help, he will show you. I hope this has encourage someone to do good.
Trinity, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, we should all be about helping others, being sensitive to needs, etc. Yet, the main point of this lesson is that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we will face some fiery trials, especially more so as it gets closer to the return of Christ and Christians begin to face some serious persecution for their testimony for Jesus Christ, and they have to make tough decisions in choosing not to bow to the "gods" of this world, but to God alone, and this calls for much discernment because many who claim to be followers of Christ are bowing to the gods of this world and probably don't even realize that they have accepted the "mark" (influence) of this world on their foreheads (minds/thinking) and their hands (deeds/actions). We need to say we will not bow and mean it, and we need to examine our own hearts to see where we are bowing to the "gods" of this world and have already accepted its mark (influence) on our lives. And, then we need to turn away by refusing to bow and we need to follow Jesus Christ only.
This is true. When we fall away from God spiritually, we will never be as well off as what we could be. In the long run sin hurts ourselves and others. It may be fun at the time being, but in he end we will need God's help. We all sin, which is why it is important to always be seeking and sharing God and his word.