“Suddenly, King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm and said, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, in the fire?…But look! I see four men walking around freely in the fire completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like a son of gods.”
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in King Nebuchadnezzar’s castle on this day. To see these three Hebrew boys talk smack (respectfully and boldly) to the king and take a stand for God would have been amazing. Just reading this story fuels my faith. Doesn’t it yours?
I can just imagine King Nebuchadnezzar enjoying the sight of everyone bowing down to him, only to have his vain moment of glory interrupted by these three Hebrew boys, who refused to worship any god other than the one true God, Jehovah. They are called out by the king and he “graciously” gives them another chance to bow down to him at the sound of the trumpet, to which they confidently told him that the band didn’t even need to wet their whistles. They had already purposed in their hearts where their devotion would be, and they weren’t budging. We know the story, Nebuchadnezzar had these three boys bound and thrown into the fiery furnace, which was turned up seven times hotter than normal. I am not real sure why it says that the heat was turned up. I mean when you think about it, fire kills no matter how hot. Anyway, suffice it to say, the furnace was hot! So hot, in fact, that the Word of God says it consumed the guards that threw the boys into the furnace.
Can’t you just see it? Just as the king began to relish in the “I showed them” thoughts, he catches a glimpse into the window of the furnace. Once again, his heart skips a beat and he “jumps up in alarm”. (vs. 24) Not only does he see four men walking in the fire, but we are told that they were “walking around freely and unharmed”, and the fourth man obviously had a distinct look of deity because he says, “the fourth man looks like a son of gods”.
In the middle of these three boys’ darkest hour, God showed up and walked with them. Oh, they were full of faith, but I don’t think for a minute that they were any different from you and me. I don’t think the story is meant to portray three boys of incredible bravery and unquenchable faith, but rather three young men that had a powerful Source as the object of their faith. They believed that either way, in life or in death, God was able to see them through and get the glory through their obedience.
Don’t you want to have a life like this? We all face furnaces in our journey of life and some are “hotter” than others. It may be a financial furnace, relational furnace, a physical furnace that deals with our health or that of a loved one, or even death. Whatever it may be, we can look at the fire and say with confidence, “My God is able!” We aren’t walking through the fire alone and there are always people on the outside watching our journey. Some may simply get a glimpse into our furnace and others may stop long enough to actually peer inside and observe the drama unfolding. It is my desire to walk through the furnaces that God allows in my life in such a way that those passing by will be able to see the “Fourth Man” walking with me!
One precious friend to our family is currently walking through a furnace most of us fear most, the loss of her precious husband. She is walking through this furnace in such a way that those of us walking closely with her, as well as, those peering into her life through the windows of social media outlets, are seeing the “Fourth Man” walking her and her precious boys. She is giving me and so many others a fresh hi-def look at God, just like we get from this Scripture about the three Hebrew boys and King Nebuchadnezzar. If you’d like to be encouraged and have your faith strengthened, I would encourage you to take a peek through the windows of her heart and life, through here on her blog. You’ll be richly blessed, challenged, and deeply inspired!
I am so grateful that I serve a God who can be trusted, whether He allows our life path to take us around a furnace or straight into the fire, we can follow Him with confidence that He is with us every step of the way. May we all walk in such a way that others can see the “Fourth Man” walking with us and the freedom, peace, and ultimate safety that comes from only Him!