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FAITH IN THE FURNACE

The story this week is from Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are faced with either obeying God or obeying king Nebuchadnezzar's decree to worship a ninety-foot image. Their faith does not shrink back as they answer the king saying that God is able to deliver them, regardless of what the king threatens. They said, “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (v. 18) indicating a willingness to bow before God’s sovereign wisdom and will.

Whether God delivers them from the king’s present threats or ushers them into eternal bliss in heaven, the young men will not serve the false idols of Nebuchadnezzar. They do not demand that God deliver them in the way that they think is best but trust that he will deliver as he knows is best. We so often think we "know" God's best solution and God often surprises the faithful. God’s deliverance may come in this life or in the life to come, but his grace is always operating to provide what is best for our eternal good.

God does not disappoint Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but delivers them in a most miraculous manner.

The same is often true for us because God does not disappoint us as we face the furnace of life. The miracle that we see told here is that in the midst of the furnace one who “is like a son of the gods” appears and walks around in the furnace with them! Most theologians believe this to be a Christophany (i.e., an Old Testament appearance of Christ). Even if it is not, it is unquestionably an indication of the presence of a heavenly emissary from God. Such a presence reminds us of the saving nature of God, who will ultimately appear as Immanuel (“God with us”) in the person of Jesus Christ (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23).

Then as now, Christ often meets his people most profoundly in the “furnace experiences” of life. Come this Sunday to hear how you can have faith in the furnace!


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