We all know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We read their story as kids and made a mental note in our heads of their great faith & God’s protection over their bodies. I didn’t think too much of that story beyond that because I believed it did not relate to me. I felt that I would never have to stand up for my faith the way they did and I would never be forced to worship another mans god. But I was wrong. God has been bringing this story to mind lately and revealing that the fiery furnace goes so much deeper than worshipping another, its about testing your faith. Lets read it below so we are refreshed.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image
3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits[a]and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The Fiery Furnace
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared[b] to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.[c] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 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.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics,[e] their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
These three men spent their life declaring their love for God. Worshipping him and testifying of His great goodness. Would they do the same when their faith was tested? Or when it meant their life? They went into the fire unsure of the outcome. God did not tell them beforehand they would be saved. He only pressed on them that He would be with them through it, and that is all that mattered to them. Their love for the Lord meant more to them than their life.
Now, King Nebuchadnezzar had this furnace and as a kid I pictured this furnace looking like an oversize fireplace. But, in reality this furnace was the size of a two story building. You had to climb a latter, walk up steps or a hill to get into it. They would heat it from the bottom and throw their prisoners in from the top. The King would sit from afar and would be able to see inside the furnace from a hole in the bottom. During this particular execution he heated this furnace seven times hotter than the normal temperature he would have used to execute his enemies. The lower heat would have created his victims to suffer longer, creating more pain and more satisfaction for the King. So when the King heated the furnace to seven times hotter it was a sign of mercy for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Because he came to respect these men, he wanted them to die instantly so they did not suffer to long. As the mighty soldiers approached the entrance of the furnace, they were instantly killed by the heat. I dont know this for a fact, because it does not mention it in the bible, I am assuming this next part; Because the King’s soldiers died, the 3 men had to voluntarily enter the furnace somehow on their own. They either had to walk in, fall in or jump in. This voluntary act signifies their trust in God and what he was doing. Did God put them in the fire? No. King Nebuchadnezzar put them there, but God used this furnace to further his Glory.
What is the significance of a furnace in our lives today? Let me give you this analogy; Did you know that if you want to achieve Gold in its purest form it must go through a refining process? To get gold to the purest state it must be put in a fire and heated at very high temperatures. The impurities will begin to escape the gold as the gold is heated hotter and hotter. And you will know it is pure because gold in its purest form is clear and translucent. You can see right through it and it is the most valued and most desirable.
God knew he had great men with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He knew their love for Him outweighed their value in their own life and He knew they would say yes to whatever He called them into. Because of this, He was using this situation to bring Glory to his name, show others of His great love for His people and to refine them, to get them at their purest form so they could be promoted to the next level. When you say Yes to God that doesn’t automatically mean it is going to be easy, most likely it will be the hardest time of your life. When I have said yes to God in the past it has been the hardest times of my life. Resulting in me questioning God. Did I hear him correctly? I would think to myself, “If its this hard I must not be from God, I must have heard him wrong, I made the wrong decision.” No. That is a lie. We did hear God correctly. When you say yes to God, you will have to step into the fiery furnace. Not because God will put you there but because the enemy will want to stop you. He will test you, he will fight you and he will make you question God. God will use this time to get you back to your original design, purify you and pull things out of you. God will begin to take out all the impurities that this world has put on you, so God can begin to use you and promote you to your next level.
What is your fiery furnace you are being asked to step into? What has God asked you to say yes to? Will you say yes and trust him? Are you willing to get burned/tested? Saying yes to God laying down your worldly desires and comforts and choosing to be used in the most uncomfortable ways. What does that look like for you? It may look like laying something down so you can pick up what God has for you. Your dreams/plans for His. I would much rather walk with God outside my comfort zone than walk with out him. My faith tells me His plans for my life are far greater than my own, and he has proven that over and over in my life. So I choose to step into the fiery furnace. Through the flames He will make Himself known and will begin to take you on a crazy new adventure. For when you walk through the fire, you will no be burned and you will not be consumed.